The revolution rolls on before our very eyes.

Today Universal Music, the world’s biggest record company, has announced its plan to launch a website that will enable people to download all its music — for free. Targeted at the audience of mainly under-30s who illegally download music, the site will make its revenue from advertising. According to a recent report by the International Federation of Phonographic Industries, there are something like 40 illegal downloads for every legal one.

This move is part of a constant patter of internet developments that are literally changing the world of communications. Hundreds of millions of people now use social networking sites like My Space, the telephony industry is rapidly moving towards a free call model, video-sharing websites like YouTube are booming, internet television is growing rapidly, online search and auction sites are changing the way people buy almost everything.

And today in Crikey we report on another fascinating internet phenomenon. A Melbourne newsagent has posted a video of a shop-lifter in action in his store on his own blog, in the hope of shaming and catching thieves. The mind boggles at the future of public dob-in sites.

We’re in the middle of an inflection point that is transforming human behaviour. The trouble is that it’s moving so fast it sometimes isn’t even noticeable.

Peter Fray

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