The psych to silo and the right to copy


In my three previous posts, I pondered whether unlimited data could limit data silos (i.e., whether offering users the enterprise data management equivalent of unlimited data streaming could curb their enthusiasm for creating data silos), or if streaming past the limits of unlimited data could create more data silos if users became frustrated with the practical limits that would need to be enforced on the amount and/or speed of data they could stream, as well as some of the issues that could impact whether enterprise data management should sync or stream.

To blog this stream of consciousness to conclusion, I want to sync up with one last point that Alan D. Duncan and I discussed in the comments section of my first post. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to data streaming playing a more prominent role in enterprise data management would be overcoming the psychological comfort factor of downloading your own copy of data. I refer to this psychological comfort factor as the psych to silo.

After all, even with streaming services like Netflix, people still buy their own copies (e.g., DVDs) of movies, and technology (e.g., DVRs) enables us to record live television programming for viewing at a later time.

One difference between entertainment data (i.e., music, movies and television shows) and enterprise data is that with the latter we are not just making copies but also customizing those copies. In either case, however, we are first asserting the right to copy. Which is why it’s worthwhile to review the historical perspective of this right as Joe Mullin recently did with his insight article Rewinding to Betamax: The path to consumers’ “right to record”.

In the 1970s, during the early days of VCRs (the progenitors of today’s DVRs), broadcast television waged legal battles to restrict what programs viewers were allowed to record and how long they could retain those recordings. “Some programs,” Mullin explained, “could be recorded without restriction. For others, viewers could record as long as they followed certain restrictions, such as deleting the recording within seven days. Still other programs shouldn’t be recorded at all, since the copyright holders objected to such recording.”

In 1984, after a prolonged legal battle, the Supreme Court of the United States made a landmark ruling that expanded the fair use clause of copyright law and gave us the right to copy entertainment data. Thirty years later, “the ruling is more relevant than ever before,” Mullin explained, because “consumer-accessible tools for electronic copying remain at the center of the biggest legal fights in technology.”

Within enterprise data management, the consumerization of IT has made low cost – and, in some cases, free – storage options and tools accessible for not only copying enterprise data, but also maintaining silos, which may not be (and users may not want them to be) in sync with the enterprise’s attempted single version of the truth.

Overcoming data silos has less to do with technology and more to do with users accepting restrictions on what enterprise data they’re allowed to copy and how long they’re allowed to retain those copies. User resistance to such restrictions is understandable given that it’s analogous to forcing consumers to surrender their DVRs.


About Author

Jim Harris

Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality (OCDQ)

Jim Harris is a recognized data quality thought leader with 25 years of enterprise data management industry experience. Jim is an independent consultant, speaker, and freelance writer. Jim is the Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality, an independent blog offering a vendor-neutral perspective on data quality and its related disciplines, including data governance, master data management, and business intelligence.

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