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BBC Strikes Deal With YouTube

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-got-your-british-stuck-in-my-tube dept.

Google 156

twofish writes "Google's YouTube video site will soon be showing content from the BBC in a deal announced today. Auntie Beeb's content will be spread across three different channels, one for news and two for entertainment programmes. Content will include adverts, and clips from shows such as "Top Gear," "The Mighty Boosh," and nature shows narrated by David Attenborough. The deal is likely to be controversial, particularly since the BBC is paid for by a compulsory tax system (the license fee) rather than through advertising or subscription. The article goes on to say that they won't be 'hunting down' people that upload their content to YouTube. Just the same, they reserve the right to take down or remove programmes that have run on their channels which might damage relationships; examples might be football offerings or 'edited' shows."

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156 comments

A compulsory Tax system (0)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206006)

..is the perfect way to fund public goods, like information.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (3, Insightful)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206082)

>..is the perfect way to fund public goods, like information.

It's not really a "compulsory" tax. You're obliged to pay the license fee if you own a television tuner set to recieve broadcast television stations.

This is, as you might imagine, ludicrously difficult to enforce. I'm a student, I use a tv tuner card, and I sure as hell don't pay £130 or whatever it is per year. How exactly am I going to be forced to pay the license fee? I get threatening letters often (which is the primary tactic the license fee collection agency use to get people to pay up) but if a license inspector ever comes to my property and asks to come in to verify I don't own an operational tv tuner, I'll politely tell him to fsck off.

From there, the only way he can get access to my property is to get a warrant from a judge, based on zero evidence that I'm doing anything wrong. Good luck there.

The license fee collection agencry is an RIAA type agency that uses scare tactics and ignorance to collect its money. The only people who get fined tend to be relatively poor people who don't pay for a license but also don't realise that they have the legal right to refuse entry to a license inspector. An inspector calls round, demands to be let in, the person lets them in, shows them the tv, and they get a fine to the order of several thousand pounds.

The whole system is ludicrous, outdated and monstrously inefficient. We would be much better served if an independent body determined an appropriate level of funding for the BBC year-on-year, and the money came from general taxation.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206182)

I use a tv tuner card
Yep, that's a good way to do it. If you buy a new TV from a major store the bastards pass your details on to the licensing agents.

Something you don't mention however is that they have detector vans and handheld detectors that can pick up the secondary RF from an active receiver. Again their effectiveness (and in the case of the handheld detectors, how many agents actually have one) is exaggerated a tad by their propaganda, but this can and does provide probable cause for them to come back with legal force. When they sweep an area it's advertised months in advance though, so you could probably not buy a license until such time as you see the warning billboards and be fine. (Disclaimer : I haven't tried this.)

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206230)

They don't "sweep an area", they park their vans outside houses which are in their database as not having a license around the time the residents are coming home from work. I'm not sure how technically effective the vans are, probably just more scare tactics to prompt you into getting a license.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (5, Funny)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206264)

They don't "sweep an area", they park their vans outside houses which are in their database as not having a license around the time the residents are coming home from work. I'm not sure how technically effective the vans are, probably just more scare tactics to prompt you into getting a license.

In Old Blighty, TV watches YOU.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206332)

They don't use the vans as a scare tactic any more because they don't work.. they've admitted they have a big database and use that instead.

They might have worked in 1950 when maybe one in 10 houses had a TV, no computers, etc. but there's so much electrical noise now that I doubt you could pinpoint a single TV set in an average street with any accuracy.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (2, Informative)

jaweekes (938376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206656)

They do more then just sit there. (from http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/information/tvdetecto rvans.jsp [tvlicensing.co.uk] )

How do the detector vans work?
We have a range of detection tools at our disposal in our vans. Some aspects of the equipment have been developed in such secrecy that engineers working on specific detection methods work in isolation - so not even they know how the other detection methods work. This gives us the best chance of catching licence evaders.

What if you can't get close enough to detect my TV in your van?
We can use a hand-held scanning device. These measure both the direction and strength of a signal, making it easy for us to locate TVs - even in the hardest to reach places.

From what I remember they can also use a technology (I cannot remember what it is called) to remotely view what is on your screen (I watched "Tomorrow's World" demo it once), on top of picking up the signal from your antenna. I also recall that when home computers first started to appear, they actually took some people to court to pay the fee for their computer monitor.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

wellard1981 (699843) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206724)

Funny you should mention that. I saw one of these TV licensing vans not so long ago down my street, and somebody was walking 'round with a funny looking device with a built in antenna.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

fymidos (512362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206212)

What if you have a tv tuner in your computer?
What if you never watch tv, but your laptop came with a tv tuner. are you supposed to pay as well?

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

sheriff_p (138609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206234)

Yes, unless you get the receiver disabled. Same as if you buy a TV, and only use it for video/playstation/whatever

Re:A compulsory Tax system (2, Interesting)

Gibsnag (885901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206294)

Or if you don't have an aerial (unless thats what you meant). My friend's family owns a TV for DVDs, but doesn't own an aerial (they live in a secluded hamlet in a valley, I'm not sure if they even get reception). They had an inspector call around because of their lack of a television license but once they showed him that they didn't have an aerial he buggered off.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206576)

No.

You only need pay if your TV (box, laptop, PCI card) is attached to the aerial. Damn difficult to prove without a warrant. Asfter all, you can always detact the coaxial and coil it up to the wall if you ever decide to let them in. Takes a couple of minutes while your other half delays them at the door. Then say you just use the TV for DVDs and games consoles.

As it happens I truly believe that people who avoid paying this are dishonest scum and deserve a right royal twatting. There you go.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206490)

It's not really a "compulsory" tax. You're obliged to pay the license fee if you own a television tuner set to recieve broadcast television stations.

It's more general than that. To quote their website [tvlicensing.co.uk] , "You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, set-top boxes, video or DVD recorders, computers or mobile phones to watch or record TV programmes as they are being shown on TV." And if you look at the small print on the license you find that you don't only need a license to watch or record the TV, you need a license to be in posession of equipment /capable/ of watching or recording TV. So if any TV company anywhere puts any of their broadcast simultaneously online, then you need a licence for a computer and an internet connection. It's so very nearly compulsory that I doubt they have much difficulty getting getting magistrates to sign off a warrant. I know people who genuinely don't need a license who have had a licence inspector turn up at the door accompanied by a police officer with a warrant, so the evidence level needed doesn't seem to be set very high

I agree with others on this thread who think a taxation model is the best way to go for public service broadcasting (although when the government simultaneously forces the BBC to chase ratings there is perhaps an insufficiently clear idea of what constitutes public service), but I agree with you that the enforcement hassle of the license (and the RIAA-like tactics of some of the agencies subcontracted to do the enforcement, probably stemming from frustration that nothing else works) mean that it's a bad way to administer the tax.

The whole system is ludicrous, outdated and monstrously inefficient. We would be much better served if an independent body determined an appropriate level of funding for the BBC year-on-year, and the money came from general taxation.
Yes, that would probably be better; rough on those who genuinely don't need a license though.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

g_attrill (203506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206918)

No, you need a licence to own equipment which is capable of receiving a television broadcast and which is used for doing so. A detuned television or video recorder does not require a licence, nor does a TV card used for capturing non-broadcast video. TV Licensing used to have a more comprehensive and clear FAQ on their website, but they removed it in favour of more confusing text to avoid people realising they don't actually require a licence.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (3, Informative)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206600)

Not to worry, when the Conservative government get in at the next election they will end the current system. They have promised Rupert Murdock they will do this some time ago.

On your point of them being a RIAA type organisation I think you are taking this a bit far. They are actually pretty fair. The reason they let you off being a student for instance is that they know that in all probability your parents have a TV licence and you can claim that is your primary residence. They have access to the register of voters (electoral role) and can use this see if anyone at that address is registered to vote.

The poster below makes a valid point regarding new TV purchases though, but this also extends to your TV card. Now all retailers who sell any equiptment capable of picking up a TV signal are required to get your details and hand them on to the TV licence people. If you refuse to provide them they are legally obliged to refuse to sell you what you want. If you buy on any sort of card they dont ask, they just get the details via your bank.

They also do have the ability to pick up the RF signal that cathode ray tubes generate, and then decode an image (Van Eck Phreaking - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Eck_phreaking [wikipedia.org] ). Thus if a TV license inspector arrives at your door and you are watching TV they usually know what channel you are watching.

They do not however have any rights of entry to your property, so can be told to sod off and come back with the police and a search warrant. I am not aware of any incidences where they have come back with the police, but I expect in the worst cases where they can proove that the person does have the money for a TV licence but simply chooses not to buy one they probably do.

You point about them only fining poor people is a bit harsh. You imply that people who are poor do not know they have the right to refuse entry to their home. This is complete rubbish, I have lived on a council estate for years and believe me, most residents knew exactly what the score was in this regard.

It is also worth noting that under british law they are unable to fine you more money than you can afford to pay, so the several thousand pounds bit is crap too. When you arrive in court you have to fill out a form detailing your assets. The only way you can be fined more than you can afford is if you refuse to disclose your assets or if you fail to turn up in court, neither of which are a particularly good idea as the british legal system takes a very dim view of this.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

mjjw (560868) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207526)

Two Points
1.

It is also worth noting that under british law they are unable to fine you more money than you can afford to pay, so the several thousand pounds bit is crap too
Under british law only a court may impose a fine, not a TV license inspector, not a police officer, not Tony Blair, no-one except a court may impose a fine. That dates back to 1689 [wikipedia.org] and is still part of the law today (see the bit about "freedom from fines and forfeitures without trial").
 
2. During the last football world cup the TV licensing announced [bbc.co.uk] that anyone watching broadcast TV over the internet needed a license to do so as they were picking up a broadcast TV signal (albeit through a computer connected to the internet rather than through an aerial).

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207130)

It's not really a "compulsory" tax. You're obliged to pay the license fee if you own a television tuner set to recieve broadcast television stations.

The TVLA keeps insisting that you need a licence to watch streaming video on your computer and on your cellphone too.

They seem to want to have their cake and eat it - either the TV licence covers the internet and thus the BBC can't derive advertising revenue from it, or the TV licence doesn't cover the internet and therefore you don't need one to receive content over the net. At the moment they are claiming the licence covers the internet but the BBC can still derive advertising revenue from it.

Also, denying UK access to the news content because of the advertising restrictions seems wrong - they should just present the content to the british public without advertising (or <shock> have YouTube redirect the british viewers to the same content hosted from the BBC website, sans adverts).

Note, in general I'm in favour of funding the BBC publicly rather than through commercial means. However, I think it's wrong for them to use my licence fee to produce content and then subject me to adverts if I want to watch it.

I'm rather of the opinion that there should be a clear line between licence-funded stuff and commercially funded stuff - if they want to use the licence fee to fund content then put it on a designated "non-commercial" channel and if they want to do something commercial then put it on a designated commercial channel and don't use the licence fee to fund it at all.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206336)

Then how do you explain that there are several examples of flourishing television content production without any compulsory tax funding? Like, for example, HBO. HBO continues to create great shows that lots of people will voluntarily pay for. HBO does not need the tax man, armed cops, and prisons to make it work.

Thanks, I explain it quite easily (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206536)

Public funding is, in my opinion, the best way to get zero-marginal-cost goods paid for, but not the only way. God bless anyone who can make another system work.

To correct your misperception, though: HBO *does need armed cops and prisons to sustain their business. Test the theory by subscribing to HBO, recording everything they broadcast, and setting up your own competitive station charging less for the same programming.

You will quickly learn that HBO *can charge for their service only because of a government-granted monopoly called copyright.

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

say (191220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206546)

But you can't watch their content (legally) on YouTube, dummy. That was the point of the GP.

TV Licencing (1)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206736)

I've posted about my troubles with the TV licence people. I did just a couple of days ago, get it in writing that I do not have to pay for a TV licence - even though I have a TV. I wrote a story on it here. [celardore.net]

Re:A compulsory Tax system (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206752)

This makes for two parallel systems:

1. Information the government wants to be available, which is produced by tax money and consumers can get for free.
2. Information the government would rather you didn't have, which costs consumers money.

Do you really want the government deciding what information should be easily accessible? Do you want people to be bribed to consume government propaganda?

Torchedwood! (-1, Flamebait)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206008)

It's what British TV is all about, no plot nor continuing story line, lesbian non-sex scenes, gay non-sex scenes, badly CGI's monsters, really bad, Christian bad and did I mention the bad writing?

It should have been aborted in the womb!!!!

I'll Bite... (1)

syrrys (738867) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206458)

C'mon! The IT Crowd is awsome! Friggin Moss, man. He's the best. "Jan, the spider is now upon my person."

Re:I'll Bite... (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206856)

Hear Hear! The Moss is the man.

Roy: [singing] We don't need no education.
Moss: Yes you do; you've just used a double negative

A nice surprise! (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206020)

This actually seems somewhat reasonable. While I would love for BBC for post these shows advertisement-free, at least they're going to post them in a format that can be viewed in any major browser on varying OSs.

Is there software to download and store videos from youtube for Linux?

Re:A nice surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206098)

Is there software to download and store videos from youtube for Linux?
Yes [mozilla.org] , I've only used it once but it worked.

Re:A nice surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206566)

Or if you don't want a Firefox extension (or don't use Firefox) then there is a nice python program specifically for downloading youtube videos: http://www.arrakis.es/~rggi3/youtube-dl/ [arrakis.es]

Adverts... (5, Insightful)

sheriff_p (138609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206034)

Worth noting that in the UK, the BBC's "iPlayer" project which is currently being rolled out, will provide ad-free TV-over-IP on-demand for anyone with a UK IP address. Thus, just like BBC America, the BBC's adverts are the BBC's way of maximising the value they offer to the UK public, by getting foreigners to watch 'em.

-sheriff

Finally (3, Insightful)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206036)

Finally somebody got into their heads that quality of YouTube is crap and broadcasting programs there will work only as an advertisement. What's the point of suing them if you can work with them and have advertisement for free. If somebody likes their programmes they will watch them on telly anyway. Think about watching Attenborough's programs and thinking: "Are those 20 pixels a lion trying to catch an antilope (other 20 pixels)?"

And for commercial stations that would be even better - they would be able to add some of advertising, or such.

Re:Finally (1)

putch (469506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206190)

you realize of course that youtube's video quality capabilities will only increase over time. probably rapidly.

Re:Finally (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206622)

Not necessarily. If it can save YouTube's arse from all lawsuits, it will stay as it is. Not to mention that YouTube's servers are even now sometimes quite hard to access. Better quality means more bandwidth - not the whole world can afford it.
Or maybe only some part of content will be available in HiRes, like for example definitely legal stuff? Who knows.

oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206042)

Not compulsory taxation. It's a subscription, it's just that you take out the subscription by owning a TV (or other device capable of receiving TV signals).

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206238)

It's a compulsory tax on anyone with a TV - I think it's reasonable to say that.

"Subscription" on the other hand is misleading, as you are not choosing to subscribe to the BBC's services, it's something that has to be paid for a TV whether you watch the BBC or not. At the least it would be a compulsory subscription for when you buy a TV.

I'm not against the TV licence, but the summary is quite accurate and I see no reason to use misleading words to try to pretend it's just like any other TV service you can choose to have.

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (2)

throup (325558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206590)

If your TV sits in the corner, unplugged and gathering dust through lack of use then you don't have to pay for the license.

Maybe it should be a "tax on anyone who chooses to use a television"?

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206340)

It's a tax:
1) The level is set by the UK government as part of the BBC charter settlement.
2) The amount is different according to the type of TV you have (it is cheaper if you own a black and white TV for example).
3) You have to pay it to have a TV in the UK whether or not you watch any of the BBC's output.
4) Theoretically the government can also give portions of the license fee to other broadcasters though I don't believe it ever has done.
So it a tax on TV ownership. Calling it something else is disingenuous .

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (1)

TK2216UKG (733566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206484)

This isn't completely true. You're only obliged to pay the TV license if your equipment is capable of receiving and displaying TV, not for merely owning a TV.

I have a plasma TV and use that solely for playing games and watching DVDs. I have agreement from TV licensing that I'm not obliged to pay the TV license since the screen - even though it contains a functioning TV receiver - isn't connected to an antenna and so unable to display TV signals.

More info here. [taith.org.uk]

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (1)

ThomsonsPier (988872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207062)

"This isn't completely true. You're only obliged to pay the TV license if your equipment is capable of receiving and displaying TV, not for merely owning a TV."

That's still a mite off; you must pay for a TV licence if you use said equipment to receive television signals. This covers display and recording. Of course, you're unlikely to have the rig if you don't plan to use it.

On a ranting note, I'd like to say that I don't mind the licensing. What I mind is the enforcement methods used which deliberately spread misinformation about the powers of the licensing inspectors to scare people into handing over money. Similar to the parent, I don't have a TV connected to an aerial and have informed the licensing scum of this several times. They still keep sending threatening letters. These letters look like final demands, to fool people into thinking that they owe money and are facing a court summons.

Oi! Licensing blokies! You have no legal powers. Get over it.

Rant complete. Your normal programming will now resume.

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (1)

kbox (980541) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206510)

So even if i never watch (or want to watch) BBC shows i have to pay for the "subscription" simply because i own a device capable of receiving it. Sounds fair. I can't wait until Microsoft use the same logic and force me to buy a windows licence for using my PC running Linux, Simply because my PC is capable of running windows. The licence fee is the reason i threw my TV away. I still get the Capita Nazis (people who enforce the licence fee) knocking at my door asking of i have a TV licence, Then when i tell them i don't have one because i don't have a TV they ask if they can come in and check if i have a TV. At which point i simultaneously close the door while saying "no you can't, Now fuck off".

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (1)

DCBoland (700327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206814)

The BBC is a national service, like the NHS...
Its programming is used every day in schools, its website is great for children's revision and they have a remit to work toward the public good e.g. innovating with TVoIP. The fact that the tax only applies when a signal-recieving TV is owned is something of a 'gift', Id fully support the BBC being run purely on public taxes simply because the benefits of it are immensurate.
The 'free market' ideology where you pay for the TV subscriptions you want has led to the base, dumbed-down programming seen in the US and on most UK channels; the BBC is sadly following suit, but it is far superior in quality - it can afford to be by not chasing profit margins and demographics.

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207278)

The Licence fee is also used to built the network that you use to watch TV. So even if you don't watch BBC but you still watch other terrestrial channels then you are using the transmission network. Just like if you subscribe to hundreds of satellite channels but you only end up watching a dozen or so.

Also is there any other kind of tax system than a compulsory one. I don't think many people would pay tax if it was optional

Re:oh my god! the ignorance! it burns! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207270)

The goggles do nothing!

heads up (3, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206050)

BBC resells the programming to other countries. Like I get BBC World here in Canada (and BBC-K on one of them digital channels). I'm sure my they make money off that. While BBC is paid for by the tax, it's supplemented by the resell royalties.

I should add that I hate BBC World taunts of Top Gear "Not Available In North America" bullshit. hehehehe. Though it is nice to get sports/news from a diff part of the world.

Tom

Re:heads up (1)

Enzo the Baker (822444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206608)

Yeah, I don't see why anyone would create a controversy over this. If the BBC is going to distribute their programs to foreign markets, which is more fair? For them to raise more money through advertising in YouTube clips and fees to cable networks (thus giving them more budget for new programs)? Or to give away to foreigners what people in the UK are paying for?

Re:heads up (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206670)

As a British licence fee payer I'm glad the BBC is getting a bit of extra cash by selling programmes abroad, but I'd much prefer an arrangement where (say) German viewers can watch BBC television free of charge and we get the German state-owned channels in return. Indeed, since the proportion of BBC funding from overseas television sales is under five percent (see BBC annual report and accounts 2005/06, page 105 - link via Wikipedia) I would prefer to pay a few pounds extra on the licence fee and just let television shows be available free of charge worldwide for whoever wants to show them.

Re:heads up (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206748)

The problem with that is most shows on CBC (equiv idea of BBC in Canada) sucks bad. Aside from a few comedies that is. So it wouldn't be a fair trade :-)

Though yeah I agree, some sort of "cultural" exchange could benefit all. Try spinning that idea in the US or Canada though... State run TV? sounds like a communist!!! ACK EVIL! :-(

Tom

Re:heads up (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207084)

I dunno, despite the continuing assault of the wingnuts, public television and radio in the US seems to do pretty well. That reminds me...I need to renew my membership.

Re:heads up (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207162)

public access != state run.

State run means you pay more tax to have them produce comedies, drama, docus, and news.

We have that [partially] in Canada through the CBC and various "arts" grants. But that said, CBC still largely fails to really hit it home with most Canadians [outside of the comedies and the news]. To add insult to injury, they run ads on the CBC. So we pay for it through taxes, and through ads. At least the BBC runs no ads.

Don't be evil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206052)

Don't be evil BBC

Top Gear (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206056)

I'm hoping they put full Top Gear episodes on there, there have been some good ones. My favorites are the Ariel Atom ("so fast it will destroy your face!"), Evo vs. Gallardo, F1 vs. street cars, and there are a few others I can't think of. That guy who does the reviews just cracks me up.

Re:Top Gear (2, Insightful)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206150)

I particularly like the one where they do a road trip from Miami to New Orleans and conclude that nobody should ever travel to America.

And I completely agree, and I'm an American.

Re:Top Gear (1)

Ollierose (202763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207134)

Given the (baited) reception they recieved, it was a fair conclusion - they were asking for trouble, and nearly got it delivered in the form of easily ingestible lead capsules.

When I did a similar trip in the other direction, I didn't get anything in the way of trouble - but I was driving a bog-standard SUV unadorned by interesting slogans (I won't spoil it for those that haven't seen the episode yet)

The sub-£1000 car challenges in previous episodes were equally as good, but for different reasons - Clarksons Maserati blowing up on the way to a lap-dancing club, with the top tip that followed (yes, you can buy an italian 2 seater for less than £1000, but you don't want to).

Re:Top Gear (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207150)

I particularly like the one where they do a road trip from Miami to New Orleans and conclude that nobody should ever travel to America.

And I completely agree, and I'm an American.


I think I've seen an excerpt of this. Is this the episode where they try to drive through Alabama with things like "Hillary for President" and "NASCAR Sucks" painted on their cars?

I loved the line (after seeing a "Welcome to Alabama" sign that had been shot): "My God.. they shoot their own signs.. what are they going to do to us?."

Is this available on BBC America?

Re:Top Gear (2, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207152)

Right, because if you spray-painted "Beckham is a Poofter!" on your car and drove it through rough neighborhoods in Great Britain, they'd offer you tea.

Re:Top Gear (2, Insightful)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207258)

Beckham is a poofter.

Besides, it wasn't just the slogans. They were threatened with a lawsuit for GIVING SOMEONE A CAR.

Re:Top Gear (2, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207354)

Yep. That was, indeed, a dick move by a very sleazy lawyer.

What does that have to do with the rest of the population of the United States?

In my travels, when I treat people with courtesy and respect, that's what I get back. Clarkson is constitutionally incapable of same (I'm pretty sure his enormous head would assplode), so people treat him like a dick. Which works, because he IS a dick. A sometimes-fairly-entertaining dick, but the man is a still a dick. May and Hammond hang around with him, so they get the same treatment.

(that may be the most times I've ever said dick at the same time. dick.)

Jeremy Clarkson (1)

herrison (635331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206246)

Re:Jeremy Clarkson (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206402)

Calling Clarkson a journalist is stretching it, he presents a light entertament programme (and a great one at that: Top Gear) for the BBC, and writes a column for the Times as your link shows, however, and your link shows this as well, he writes opinion pieces; he's a columnist, not a journalist. Don't get me wrong, I think he's a funny writer, but calling him a journalist is plain wrong.

Re:Jeremy Clarkson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206624)

Let's be honest. The man's a cunt.

Re:Top Gear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207048)

Nah, the quality of YouTube stinks. Better to go over to finalgear.com [finalgear.com] and download the full, high quality versions. It's unlikely that finalgear.com will be shut down, as many of the production staff for Top Gear comment on the forums often. They once received a cease and desist letter from the BBC, but that was because they were actually hosting the files themselves. Once they just hosted the links, the BBC laid off of them.

Re:Top Gear (2, Insightful)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207238)

To wander totally off topic for a moment, (as I am wont to do), Top Gear started out pretending to be public service broadcasting, you know the sort of thing, consumer advocacy. But Clarkson et. al. have turned it into a juvenile pissing contest. Yes it's fun to see articles on ridiculous cars such as the Evo and the Veyron but it needs more coverage of the real world. More on keeping a 15 year-old Toyota going (not difficult) and less on the relative styling merits of the latest unaffordable McLaren Mercedes V's the BMW Mid-Life Crisis.

they do still do the motoring satisfaction survey, but one quiz a year on new cars is hardly investigative jounalism

It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (5, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206060)

It's a licence fee. The money goes to the BBC. Not the government. And you don't have to own a TV, so you don't have to have a licence.

Re:It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (3, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206288)

That it's a "licence" doesn't mean it also isn't a tax. A tax doesn't have to be paid by everyone - there are many taxes which only have to be paid by some people. That's like saying income tax isn't compulsory because you don't have to have a job, or council tax isn't compulsory because you don't have to own a property...

It's a tax AND a licence. And, like most taxes, it's compulsory for people who fulfil a certain criterion (in this case, owning a TV).

The only real difference is that the money doesn't go to the Government as you say, although this isn't that different to any other taxation money which the Government hands to private companies for services. The BBC still have the Government backing to be able to enforce it (clearly, no other TV company has the right to "licence" its services this way).

Re:It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (1)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206410)

Question. If you own a TV in the UK but don't use it for viewing television programs (like hooking it up to an Atari 2600 full time,) do you still have to pay the license fee?

Bill

Re:It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206518)

No. You only have to pay the license fee if you have equipment set up to receive TV signals. So if you've got an Atari plugged in instead of an aerial, no license needed. On the other hand if you have a computer with a TV card, or even just a standalone VCR connected to an aerial (and power), then you do have to pay.

Re:It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (1)

Any Web Loco (555458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206522)

No, you don't have to pay it if you just plug a game console into it. You would need to show that you don't have the aerial plugged in. I have a friend who has a TV but only uses it for watching videos/DVDs. She doesn't have to pay the license either.

MOre info here [tvlicensing.co.uk] .

Re:It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (1)

Psiren (6145) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206734)

You don't have to as long as the TV is not tunable to terrestrial broadcasts. In practice, you'd probably get hounded for years, especially if you used to have a license and then stopped having one. Frankly I'd happily pay twice as much for the license as I think the BBC do a damn good job of producing quality programs (Eastenders excepted of course).

No. No antenna, no licence fee. (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206798)

No. I've got a few friends who use monitors for their film and video work and one's even been visited by the licence people to check. Bottom line seems to be that if you've got it plugged into an antenna, you're probably watching tv so you need a licence. But the emphasis in law is on them proving that you were watching tv, rather than you proving you were not. They can't fine you (for not having a licence) until they can prove you were watching tv (detector van outside your house). It's a known dodge in squats just to unplug the antenna and if they do get permission to check you out (court order) then to sit there and say "prove it, look you can see the games console/VCR is plugged into it, that all I do with it".

One of the arguments people make is that it's unfair for people who never watch the BBC (only commercial channels) to have to pay a licence fee but I've never met anybody who never watches the beeb. Being able to watch a film all the way through or an hour long documentary without commercial breaks every 20 or 30 minutes is worth it I reckon....

Re:It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206488)

I strive for accuracy. The licence may appear to be a tax, and have many things in common with it, but from a legal point of view, it is different in much the same way as the BBC is a public body, not a governmental body. Don't pay it and you won't be charged with tax evasion. You will be charged with not paying your TV licence. It's remarkably similar, but calling it a tax is technically incorrect.

As for compulsory, that's just hyperbole. There's a compulsory fee for buying groceries. It's called the price.

Re:It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (1)

fuyu-no-neko (839858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206952)

I strive for accuracy. The licence may appear to be a tax, and have many things in common with it, but from a legal point of view, it is different in much the same way as the BBC is a public body, not a governmental body. Don't pay it and you won't be charged with tax evasion. You will be charged with not paying your TV licence. It's remarkably similar, but calling it a tax is technically incorrect.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and is genetically identical to a duck, it's not a duck if you decide to call it something else?

Re:It's not a tax. It's not compulsory (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207246)

Nope. Paint stripes on a horse and it still isn't a zebra, even if you can't tell the difference.

Advertising tax (3, Insightful)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206564)

Just like the Advertising tax I pay (indirectly) to Rupert Murdoch every time I buy something from the shops. I I don't even own a satellite dish or read the sun.

I think I'll stick with paying the BBC upfront.

Censored (4, Informative)

naich (781425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206070)

"they reserve the right to take down or remove programmes that have run on their channels which might damage relationships"

And ones that show how they were involved in the 9/11 conspiracy!

That's a joke, BTW :)

Here in Germany we also have compulsory taxes... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206072)

...for the so called "Öffentlich-rechtlicher Rundfunk" Radio and TV. An organization called GEZ ("Gebühreneinzugszentrale") makes sure everyone pays this tax. They go to houses and ask people to let them in (some people think they have to).

The problem is that the german Radio and TV stations like to expand their offers to new media like Satellite and Internet without asking the citizens. So now we have to pay these compulsory taxes also for owning a satellite dish or owning a computer(!). Even companies that work with computers have to pay this tax.

That's outsourcing IT businesses german-style ;-)

Re:Here in Germany we also have compulsory taxes.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206456)

German is a truly terrifying language. The names of those departments scares the crap out of me just from reading them.


Even "Squirrel Hugging Department" translates to something like Eichhörnchenumarmendienst, which is enough to cause immediate French surrender by merely thinking it loudly.

Re:Here in Germany we also have compulsory taxes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206534)

If I recall correctly, the problem with German TV/Radio taxation being extended to computers stems from the fact that they have recently made it mandatory that you file taxes via computer. Thus... in order to pay taxes, you are (practically) required to own a device which in and of itself requires an additional tax. (Of course this is /., and I have little evidence to back up this claim, so correct me if I'm talking out my ass!)

It actually offers me a small amount of comfort that NHK in Japan isn't shafting us quite as badly as they could. (Although they did ask me if I had a computer with a TV tuner, when I told them I own no TV and will pay no tax.)

Top Gear- (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206132)

I love that show, but the quality over youtube is fine for a few minutes, not for an hour long show.

BT still wins in that case.
www.finalgear.com in case anyone cares

Not all content because.. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206260)

License payers fund it. What resolution will these offerings be and what codec?

Re:Not all content because.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206396)

HasciiCam at 80x25

This is clips only (1)

Molt (116343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206272)

People seem to be thinking this is entire episodes- so far all that's been announced are clips. I'd be very surprised if the BBC moved to allowing regular episodic content to go to YouTube, especially given they're going to be putting a lot of their efforts behind their own iPlayer project now.

Re:This is clips only (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206310)

It's also not available to UK residents at all.. which I find quite bizarre, given that I helped pay for that programme.

I heard rumours they were going to do the same with itunes - allow BBC programmes on it but not to UK residents (less of an issue I guess because itunes only has video support in the US).

Re:This is clips only (1)

SteveDob (449830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206368)

Exactly. People could always read the BBC's own announcment of the deal, which goes into more detail about the what, when, and who of it all
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6411017.stm [bbc.co.uk]

There is even part of the deal that those of us in the UK that paid for it will be denied access to, although I don't actually have an issue with that, as I already get to see the full version of what the rest of the world will only get clips of.

Missing Footage (1)

MagickalMyst (1003128) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206282)

Hopefully the find the missing footage from 9/11 that they claim to have lost and post it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/02/part _of_the_conspiracy.html [bbc.co.uk] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EuK3tCihJ0 [youtube.com]

BBC: "1. We're not part of a conspiracy." (2, Insightful)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207108)

And we all know anyone part of a cabal evil beyond imagination would when asked be honor-bound to answer "Well...we are part of a conspiracy to overthrow the last vestiges of western democracy and enslave you and your descendants forever, yes."

I guess that's the logical equivalent of those big, flashing "SELF-DESTRUCT" buttons evil villains always seem to have in their command centers.

As far as the constant response of "move along, nothing to see here" (in this case quite literally!), a metaphor from Ted Geisel describes it best:

And the Grinch grabbed the tree, and he started to shove
When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who!
Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two.

The Grinch had been caught by this little Who daughter
Who'd got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the Grinch and said, "Santy Claus, why,
"Why are you taking our Christmas tree? WHY?"

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Santy Claus lied,
"There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side.
"So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
"I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here."

And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head
And he got her a drink and he sent he to bed.
And when Cindy-Lou Who went to bed with her cup,
HE went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up!


"And what happened then...? Well...in Who-ville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day."

B.S. (1)

styryx (952942) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206388)

I don't even want to get remotely used to watching the BBC with advertisements!

They don't have any now and this is one of the main things I like about the BBC. And what would be there to prevent people from skipping the adverts on Youtube anyway?

The BBC needs to remain neutral, non-partisan and informal; a public service! It seems to be forgetting that more and more recently since the Iraq War fiasco [bbc.co.uk] . When Greg Dyke resigned after:

He said his sole aim had been to defend the BBC's independence and "act in the public interest".

I don't understand why he had to resign for that.

The Submitter should RTFA (1)

PhillC (84728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206772)

Really, it's up to the submitter of this article to read the thing first!

From the article you will note that one of the entertainment channels will be a "public service" channel with no advertising. It will only show clips and short features.

The other entertainment channel will be run by BBC Worldwide, a wholly owned COMMERCIAL SUBSIDIARY of the public service BBC. This channel will be funder by advertising. It is worth noting that all BBC Worldwide profits are put directly back into the BBC, thus reducing the need to heavily increase the license fee. BBC Americas, for example, is part of BBC Worldwide. Do you watch any BBC programmes in a country other than the UK? Then these programmes have been licensed for broadcast by BBC Worldwide, and the money goes back into the BBC. If I recall, BBC Worldwide put £89million back into the BBC last financial year.

The news channel will have advertising on the page, which is fine, as it means non-UK residents are in fact "paying" to view BBC content. If UK residents want advert free BBC news content, just go to the BBC news website - http://news.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk]

Frankly, I don't see what is controversial about this deal at all - despite what the submitter or other media companies might say.

Can they use this on their news site? (2, Interesting)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206914)

Perhaps we will get more choices of BBC news video to watch than in RealPlayer format.

I only ask this because I believe RealPlayer is Satan's media player.

There's Dirac. (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207416)

The BBC's R&D department created a wavelet-based video codec called Dirac [wikipedia.org] , and released it as open source. There are some commits to the CVS in the last few days, so the project's not dead. I don't know what they're planning to do with the codec, though.

edited or unedited? (0, Offtopic)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207066)

Just the same, they reserve the right to take down or remove programmes that have run on their channels which might damage relationships; examples might be football offerings or 'edited' shows."

They might also want to supress things which are embarassing. Like live footage of someone claiming a building has fallen down when it's still there in the background. Especially if that building does fall down some time later.

Its not Your Tube anymore... (1)

adnausium (901852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207214)

Personally i think makinging deals with all these stations/companies is kinda spoiling the whole idea. Pretty soon they are gonna have to change the name of the site to "TheirTube"...

Not on youtube (1)

codeboost (603798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207440)

I would prefer watching BBC programmes on apps like LiberTV [libertv.tv] .
You can't really enjoy good documentaries/programmes unless they are in HD or at a very good fullscreen resolution.
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