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Anti-DRM Activists Take On the BBC

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the doing-what's-right dept.

Media 200

An anonymous reader writes "Activists from Binary Freedom Boston have launched a campaign calling on the BBC to release their content online without DRM or proprietary formats. You might remember the BBC asking us about this earlier and even though the public chose not to use DRM by a landslide, they still decided to use it. EMI and Amazon have already ditched DRM. How long before the BBC does?"

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Freedom of information act may already cover this (5, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451137)

DRM free content? Absolutely. I have to pay my TV license every year for the BBC. For the most part, I think it is value for money. The BBC news site is worth the license fee all by itself. For comparison, I pay about a third of the cost of a license on a Slashdot subscription each year and Slashdot is less than a third of the quality.

However, I'm of the opinion that if you're going to force people to pay for a service through a tax, then the products of that government service should be free in the BSD style sense of the word. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that this needs to be codified in to law. In fact, we may already have in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 [opsi.gov.uk] .

Having just read the first section of the act, you could make a questionable legal argument that if you make a request for the unDRMED content and they fail to give you that version they are in breach of the act. If you have to buy a Windows machine just to watch one of their publicly broadcast snippets I'd say that obstructs the request for the information sufficiently for it to become unlawful. No other department is free to restrict requests in that manner!

We've already paid for the service so give us the bloody content in a usable format!

Simon

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451187)

But what about people who don't pay for a TV license? This will allow THEM access to shows YOU'VE paid for... What about if the only DRM is you entering your TV license code, with no restrictions on what you can do with it, bar removing the protection? For you, the media would be free, but for those without TV licenses (who have no right to the media), it's not free. The BBC has a mandate to protect the interests of the license fee payer, which means limiting the availability of the media to those folks alone, and charging others for it.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Interesting)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451223)

The BBC's broadcasts are already free, via satellite, in Europe. I do not pay a UK license fee but can watch BBC, and the other UK channels, via Sky and without the use of any Sky subscription. I do not think that the content being available to anyone else in the world is such a major issue. The material has already been funded and you pay for your internet access so no-one is losing money.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451243)

That's because they have no way of changing that without denying license payers in the UK access to the content for free. They have to do all they can to ensure license payers get the content for free, and those without licenses don't. That's why as DRM exists, they're forced to use it, as without it, they'd be in breach of their charter. They can't have advertising-supported DRM-free content, as other content suppliers have done, as that again is in serious breach of their charter.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451591)

They have to do all they can to ensure license payers get the content for free, and those without licenses don't. That's why as DRM exists, they're forced to use it, as without it, they'd be in breach of their charter.
But, certainly, it is sufficiently easy to make an argument that DRM is ineffective (and, additionally, that it inconveniences the license payers) that if they had wanted to they could easily have neutralized that particular line of reasoning.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Interesting)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451747)

That's because they have no way of changing that without denying license payers in the UK access to the content for free.

That isn't true. Until about two years ago they encrypted their broadcast and allowed UK residents to view it for free by making available smartcards to them.
However, they did so in association with the commercial TV companies (sharing their card), and apparently that deal was so expensive to them that they decided to end it.

But that does not mean there is "no way". E.g. here in the Netherlands the same (public broadcaster encrypting, cards available without subscription fee) is still being done. We have the same problem, though: the company doing the sat encryption is increasing their service fees all the time.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451807)


The vast majority of the British populace have a TV. Why be concerned about the tiny minority that would freeload. Of course, there is the rest of the World, but what the heck? We're doing it anyway and it works, so why not share it around. About time our country did something positive again.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451895)

Exactly why complain about the rest of the world viewing BBC content when they probably wouldn't have bought it anyway. As long as the British public doesn't stop paying for their license (which they can't since its mandatory then I don't see a problem. Pointless argument for DRM.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451281)

But what about people who don't pay for a TV license? This will allow THEM access to shows YOU'VE paid for...

So what? As a license payer, I don't mind. It's a gift.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451295)

As a license fee payer myself, I do not care if third parties have access. Good for them!

Although some people will disagree they're more the old moaning grandparent types with their "because I had to pay you do to!" speeches. These old farts need to stop complaining and realize theres a lot of us Brits outside the country wanting to watch the BBC.

This is really what the BBC has needed for a long time. It never made any sense to me that I have to pay this license every year but if I want to watch something I missed I have to buy it on DVD? Whats the point of a yearly subscription if I can't access the content I paid to get produced.

I'm not a big TV watcher anyway as I spent most my time refreshing Slashdot. What I would really like to see from the BBC is high quality video via BitTorrent. Hell they wouldn't even need to use their own tracker they could practically host the stuff for the cost of a few internet connections.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451351)

If people can watch the BBC legally without having to pay for it, or without the BBC being reimbursed in a way that doesn't break their charter, then people will stop paying their TV licenses, which means the BBC will get less funding, which means its quality will suffer.

I totally agree that the BBC's back-catalogue should be made available to license payers to watch, but without some sort of mechanism to ensure that viewers actually have a license fee, when such a measure is possible, then that breaks their charter.

The BBC is legally obligated to do all it can to protect the content and ensure it's only available to those who have paid their license fees. If DRM didn't exist, there would be *no* online media from the BBC. As DRM does exist, they are capable of making sure, or at least doing the best they can, that the viewers are paying their license fees (such as restricting playback to the UK, where if you have a PC capable of watching it, you must have a license).

Hosting it on BitTorrent, while making it easy for license fee payers to watch it, also makes it easy for non-paying folks, which is a no-go. People will stop subscribing to their advertising-supported non-UK BBC network, which means loss in revenue. The BBC has to do all it can to stay the BBC. Giving its content away is not going to do that, so the BBC won't. It's not their fault, it's the charter, which is in place to ensure it's as good as it can be.

The BBC should sell their licenses abroad and make a way for those licenses to enable the buyers to download and watch BBC shows, while stopping those who haven't. This isn't the RIAA we're talking about here, they actually charge a decent rate for their products, and they're not getting rich off ages-old business models. The BBC are the good guys, remember?

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451427)

There are plenty of ways to only allow licensees to view the content such as making them type in their license number.

Thats besides the point because NO ONE would throw away their TV just so they can watch it on their computer in the study alone. They want to watch East Enders on the big box with their family and thats never going to change whatever you make available over the web.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451469)

And how do you stop those videos from being uploaded after they've typed in their TV license? That's kind of why DRM was invented. Plenty of folks don't watch TV on actual TVs but over the internet. It's getting more and more. The line between TVs and computers is getting thinner and thinner, and if they can get BBC content over the internet for free, without paying their license, they will, which will put a massive dent in the BBC's income, which will in turn put a massive dent in their programming, to the point where East Enders will be a monologue by a studio cleaner in a darkened room, lasting 15 seconds per week.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451661)

can get BBC content over the internet for free, without paying their license, they will,
They have a huge database of people's addresses who HAVE and don't have a TV license. If don't get a license you automatically get sent a nasty letter through the post reminding you that if you don't get one you'll get fined up to ten times the amount of the license. I know because I have gotten the letters myself. So please tell me again how they can't stop people from not paying their license because they can already stop them now.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Insightful)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451699)

But DRM does not stop the videos from being uploaded either. It is precicely as effective; that is to say, not at all.

Giving someone the ciphertext and the key that decrypts it is exactly the same as giving them the plaintext. It has to be, otherwise how could they watch the content?

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452289)

And how do you stop those videos from being uploaded after they've typed in their TV license? That's kind of why DRM was invented.
What that forgets, and all the broadcasters also seem to forget it, is that the material has already been broadcast 'on-air' without DRM. So there is nothing (technical) preventing someone recording it 'off-air' and uploading it. So DRM does not prevent unauthorised uploading and sharing of the material.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451451)

Simple, make people register and use their TV licence details to gain access.

It's better than locking everything with DRM.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451593)

And those files will not be able to be shared with non-license-fee-paying folks how, exactly? Your solution is not a solution in the slightest. It certainly doesn't free the BBC from their obligations. I'm completely against DRM on music, as music is an advert for the live gigs. I support DRM when it's used as it should be, to allow media to exist where previously it couldn't.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451725)

It doesn't really matter as long as the British public pay their License fees to keep the content running.

I wouldn't care if others were to view the content I paid for without paying but it wouldn't stop the British public from paying for a license since its extremely well enforced with everyone in the UK without a license being flagged up in their database.

You can run but you can't hide as they say.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451845)

It won't, but the net is full of BBC shows anyway. There's probably little interest in their programming outside of the Uk anyway.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451731)

No quite true. Your license is because 'you have the ability to receive TV transmissions'. Now, we all know that only the BBC benefits from this but, if I remember correctly, the BBC isn't categorically named on the license, or at least I don't think it was last time looked. Everybody in the UK who has the technical ability to receive TV transmissions (not necessarily a TV, but a recorder or some other device) is required to have a license. The fact that they might not watch the BBC is irrelevant: the license is for the capability not the actual reception. Furthermore, claiming that they will 'stop paying' the fee is incorrect just as some people today do not pay the license fee and gamble on not being caught.

In any region of Europe, there are people who live in the border regions of any 2 countries who can receive broadcasts from 2 or more countries. They are not required to pay separate license fees to different governments. In Northern France many people can get the BBC and other UK transmissions from the Channel Islands. Elsewhere, they can get French, German and perhaps 2 or more other countries' transmissions. I pay my local license fee (which is MUCH less than I was paying in the UK) and I am content with my lot.

My previous post was to counter the fact that a claim which was made that, if DRM wasn't used, the BBC's transmissions would suddenly become available to non-uk citizens. My post stated that this shouldn't be a big problem because the BBC already makes its broadcasts available to some groups outside the UK. In fact, this has UK government approval because it increases the general awareness of UK culture and issues, as well as assisting others to learn our language. There is a very close link between the government and the BBC (Who funds the BBC Monitoring Service? Which public service broadcasts are the BBC obliged to make during times of disaster and crisis?) although there is also a reasonable attempt to separate the two as much as possible. I do not think that the prevention of the reception of BBC and other UK transmissions by the large number of non-UK license paying viewers would be in the UK's greater political interest.

I do not think that the BBC should be using DRM at all. But, more importantly, they shouldn't be tying it in to a single manufacture (Microsoft) particularly when that manufacturer is currently subject to various legal proceedings in Europe. I am not making the assumption that Microsoft is guilty, but it would seem prudent not to tie one's investment to a company that 'could' be prevented from selling its software in Europe, however unlikely that might currently appear.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451879)

Bullshit.

That would make some sense if DRM actually worked, but it doesn't. Any DRM can be bypassed or stripped, then the result conveniently distributed by BitTorrent.

The only people for who DRM makes things harder is legitimate buyers. The pirates have it much, much better. No messing with payments, no worrying about expiration dates or it being bound to the computer, no problems with requiring a specific player. Pirates download from BT, and play it where they want, when they want, on any device or OS they want.

Corporations, take note:

Here's what I won't pay for: Anything that includes DRM. If it has restrictions, needs a specific player, can only be played on Windows, etc, I don't buy it.

Here's what I will pay for: Content in a widely playable format (DivX say), with no restrictions, delivered quickly and without hassle from servers with lots of bandwidth. Pirates have only two problems: Too many leeches and too few people seeding. Make sure I can always download what I want without having to wait and at a decent speed, and that will be worth paying for.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451955)

If people can watch the BBC legally without having to pay for it, or without the BBC being reimbursed in a way that doesn't break their charter, then people will stop paying their TV licenses, which means the BBC will get less funding, which means its quality will suffer.

So make it a flat tax paid by all citizens, instead of a "tv license." If almost everybody's paying it anyway it doesn't actually change anything...

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452253)

The UK Government is hoist by its own petard. If they try to change the existing license conditions to, say, a flat tax, then the other channels (ITV et al), would want to be able to claim their share of the tax. Currently, the license is tied to a technical capability i.e. the ability to receive TV transmissions whether the equipment is actually used for such a purpose or not, and not simply to fund the BBC even if that is the actual outcome. Then, if it were changed to a tax then there would be some who were being taxed who should not be - there are still some who do not own a TV simply because they do not want to - and who could claim an exemption. How would the tax be collected? By direct taxation of income? What about the unemployed, those without an income etc? The current system is actually pretty effective. They know who has a license and there are (scarce, I admit) resources to try to catch out those who abuse the system. The Government make it a law to require a license to receive specific TV transmissions, and they provide the funding collected to the BBC.

As I do not currently live in the UK I do not know what is being provided by the BBC via DRM'd data streams. But I expect it to be the same data that they broadcast via TV but simply in a different format i.e. digital. Nevertheless, the production of the data has already been funded. Those in the UK who object to someone else being able to view it are not complaining that they are being prevented from receiving the transmission because someone else is viewing it illegally, but are simply envious that something that they pay for is potentially available to others free of charge. They are still getting everything that they were always able to receive for their license fee - which, as I keep saying, is for the reception of TV broadcasts and NOT for digitally streamed information - but they begrudge anyone else getting the same product. What about the BBC World Service? It is paid for by the BBC, (i.e. the UK license payer via money provided by the Treasury to the BBC), but I'll bet it is an very small number of license payers who actually benefit directly from it. As I have also pointed out, there is great value to the 'UK PLC' in having a news service that is renowned the world over and that can be accessed by millions of people each day, or for keeping the UK's views, culture and beliefs in the forefront of many people around the world. Streamed data could have an equally valuable role to play in this - if the BBC World Service want to stream data you don't think that they would limit it to the UK do you?

The UK is not the only country to do this. Many countries transmit their programs, either national or produced specifically for the target audience, around the world. It makes a lot of sense, both politically and economically. However, the demand to receive whatever 'soap' is currently in UK vogue is unlikely to originate from overseas in any significant strength. Most expats want to keep updated on UK news and culture but don't actually give a toss about the lower end of the entertainment spectrum in my experience. I'm sure that there will be at least one person who will come straight back and correct me regarding the reception of some soap drivel as being vitally important to his life in the Algarve, Costa del Sol, Cyprus or elsewhere but I still contend that it will be a minority of those who actually enjoy what the BBC provides worldwide.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452065)

If DRM didn't exist, there would be *no* online media from the BBC.
I disagree. That's what the media companies would like to believe. However, the fact remains that news and entertainment programming dissemination is gradually moving from push-based broadcast-based media to online pull-based media (where the viewer requests what they're interested in). If a company refuses to put their media online, they will quickly find themselves becoming irrelevant, and someone else will step in to fill in the void. Like what happened to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Informative)

AlecLyons (767385) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452261)

such as restricting playback to the UK, where if you have a PC capable of watching it, you must have a license
Not quite. You only need a license if you are capable of receiving the television broadcasts. Actually I think that the letter of the law says you only need a license if you use equipment to receive the broadcasts (ie you don't need one if you have a tv but only use it to view CCTV, of DVD's).

That said the TV licensing people are very very aggressive. They seem to think a residential address not having a licence is evidence of infringement in itself.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

hoki_goujons (930597) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452267)

I suppose one way around it would be to distribute through bittorrent and have the site require a user/pass based on a BBC TV Licence serial number, after which the content is uninfected. Some of the obsolete legal requirements will be satisfied, customers will be satisfied, the BBC will be fulfilling it's duties and the amount of BBC content freely available on the net will not be affected a jot, but that's by the by.

My understanding from reading the BBC Trust consultation [bbc.co.uk] on all this was that they're letting the Beeb put out DRM-infected content for the moment simply to get the content out there and get people used to the service

Platform-agnostic approach: As proposed, the TV catch-up service on the internet relies on Microsoft technology for the digital rights management (DRM) framework. The Trust will require the BBC Executive to adopt a platform-agnostic approach within a reasonable timeframe. "This requires the BBC to develop an alternative DRM framework to enable users of other technology, for example, Apple and Linux, to access the on-demand services."
Remember that DRM here does not just refer to the silly crap that gets used on iTunes and other sites - it just means that licensing is taken into account and dealt with. This could be as simple counting the number of downloads...or as cruddy as breaking all the videos and restricting access to one man called Kevin from Buttsplice, Ohio like bittorrent.com did.

It's important to bear in mind that the BBC is not the RIAA. It's a traditionally left-leaning public-minded body inhabited by a load of liberals, and it's answerable to the public.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Interesting)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451641)

As a license fee payer myself, I do not care if third parties have access. Good for them!
One minor question that has been bugging me for a while is this: has Britain totally given up any attempt at cultural influence beyond its own borders? I have for long time considered that the cultural value inherent in BBC's very high quality of programming could be a most potent tool in gendering understanding for "the British way/view" abroad if only the world at large were given ready access to it. Surely, such an effect would have considerably more value to Britain than whatever it is they would be spending (or losing) in making it available.

What first had me wondering about this was when I heard (a couple of years back I think) that BBC would stop some international broadcasts it was doing, apparantly because it would save them money to do so. It just seems so very short-sighted.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Interesting)

bigtomrodney (993427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451899)

One minor question that has been bugging me for a while is this: has Britain totally given up any attempt at cultural influence beyond its own borders? I have for long time considered that the cultural value inherent in BBC's very high quality of programming could be a most potent tool in gendering understanding for "the British way/view" abroad if only the world at large were given ready access to it.
I think that is a very narrow view, and if I may say so a very British one. What makes you thinkthe small island of Britain has a right to push cultural influence outside of its own borders?
I think it would be far more valuable to Britain to venture out looking for cultural influence from outside. Don't get me wrong I am not attacking Britain, but we are long past the days of the British Empire and there is too much naval gazing and self congratulation in nations throughout the world without more pushing of their own views. Countries would have more benefit if they looked beyond themselves for their own growth.

Put it this way - I'm Irish (and that is not the motivation for my post ;) )and my whole life I like most Britons have been watching American TV programs. I think the British and Irish have a lot of insight into how American culture has been shaped and to some extent popular opinion and even just straight out branding. I'm sure we could all name a few American car brands and the types of 'candy' that Americans like. I'm sure likewise they couldn't do the same of us, hell as an Irishman I have even had American people in all seriousness ask do we have electricity in Ireland

We have benefitted from this so on that point I agree - but don't you think it is a much better position to be in to pick and choose outside influence? Is it better than mandating into your national broadcaster that they should be pushing "the British way/view" as you put it?
That sounds more like wartime propaganda to me, and not just a little arrogant. 59 million people are only a very small slice of six billion.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (4, Insightful)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452025)

What makes you thinkthe small island of Britain has a right to push cultural influence outside of its own borders?
This question puzzles me. Why should they not have this right? If freedom of speech is important on a domestic level, why would it not be equally important on an international one? If the content turns out of be of no interest to the world at large, they'll just ignore it. (Although my opinion is that the BBC produces content of sufficiently high quality that it will not, in fact, be totally ignored.)

I think it would be far more valuable to Britain to venture out looking for cultural influence from outside.
This seems to be a false dilemma. Surely, it is possible both to export culture and to import it at the same time.

Don't get me wrong I am not attacking Britain, but we are long past the days of the British Empire and there is too much naval gazing and self congratulation in nations throughout the world without more pushing of their own views. Countries would have more benefit if they looked beyond themselves for their own growth.
It will be difficult to look beyond oneself for cultural input if everyone around you is jealously guarding all of their goods. My suggestion is basically that Britain not prevent others from looking to it should they so choose.

Is it better than mandating into your national broadcaster that they should be pushing "the British way/view" as you put it?
I am not sure where, or how, I "put" that. I am suggesting that Britain should spend money to make their cultural production available to the world at large. How they go about doing this is certainly an interesting question, but I don't think that I even hinted that the solution might be "force Brazilians at gunpoint to watch Shooting Stars". If I suggested anything then it might have been, considering the context of this debate, "make BBC content available on the internet without DRM".

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

bigtomrodney (993427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452247)

I agree that the content should be available on the internet without DRM, and of course import and export can occur simultaneously. My point was there is a vast difference between making something available for all to enjoy and learn from and trying to actively export a point of view. If I misunderstood your intention I apologise.

MOD up Parent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452033)

enough said.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

Movi (1005625) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451805)

Here's something from me : I'm not a citizen of the UK, so i don't pay for the BBC content, yet i can watch either via satellite or via cable here in Poland. The content from my point of view is top-notch. This _IS_ the channel thats great public service : both for entertainment and educational needs. It simply blows away the local Polish public TV (for which i have to pay a tax - everyone owing a tv or radio has to even if they can't receive the channels).
If i had an option to pay for the BBC and get the content without any DRM over the net i would think a split second. The mere fact that BBC allows almost all of the world to see its channels is a gift (i don't know about the US, but all of Europe and Asia gets BBC pretty easily). So rather as taking it as a british channel that the rest of the world can view for free, i would start seeing BBC in a category of citizen-of-the-world tv station.

So to all of the brits that pay for us - a big thank you! Where else could i get my Top Gear fix? ;]

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452257)

These old farts need to stop complaining and realize theres a lot of us Brits outside the country wanting to watch the BBC.

There are a few things online. For instance, here's a video of an exciting football match. [watching-grass-grow.com]

I'm happy to pay (1)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451825)

But what about people who don't pay for a TV license? This will allow THEM access to shows YOU'VE paid for...
Hell, if the Beeb would offer high-quality, non-DRM'd digital programming for download, I'd pay the equivalent of a licence fee for access. I grew up in the UK and ended up living in the US for reasons out of my control at the time. Now I've established myself in this country, but I miss a lot of the stuff on the BBC. I'd happily shell out the cash for unlimited digital access to their library.

I'd really like to see the BBC move into a digital-distribution model, and making their artistic content available to the world (fee-based or not) would be both laudable and a positive reflection on the UK.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452115)

This will allow THEM access to shows YOU'VE paid for


Big deal I have to pay for it anyway. At least let me watch it on my Ubuntu Laptop.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Informative)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451237)

The BBC has actually done this at least once in the past. A while ago, they released recordings of the BBC Orchestra playing Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 6-9 in MP3 format, for free on their website. I jumped at the chance and downloaded them, and still listen to those recordings occasionally.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (2, Informative)

Angostura (703910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451455)

And they were jumped on by the regulators and the BBC Trustees. The BBC had to commit to them to not do any such thing in the future.

(It was the full set of symphonies, actually).

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451475)

Right, but they stopped distributing them after a short period of time due to license agreements, if I remember correctly. Better than DRM, for sure, but it would be nice if there wasn't an artificial restriction of any kind.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451319)

That is an interesting and rather entertaining interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act.

Anyway problem elsewhere. BBC already tried to release un-DRM-ed content and got into hot water for it. More specifically they released all Bethoven Symphonies as played on BBC radio via their web site 2 or 3 years ago (I got 6-9 and missed the first 5). And they stopped. Guess why - because the rest of the music industry threatened to sue them for undercutting classical music prices.

Personally, I found the argument extremely entertaining. The quality of the recording was not anywhere near what a classical audiophile will consider worth having (considerably worse than a good FM radio broadcast) and the quality of the execution by the orcherstra (and chorus) was a total joke. One can buy a Slovak Philharmonic orchestra "present for the aunt" CD from one of those 10 quid for 20 CDs bundles with much better quality and execution. I am not even talking about going to a music store and buying a proper recording with someone like H. Karayan as a conductor. And even so, the industry went up in arms like one and the Beeb backed down.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451415)

couldn't agree more, the bbc have a great opportunity to embrace open-ness. bbc worldwide have been profiting from the beebs content from quite some time, and i'm happy for them to continue doing so, i just want them to give me what me, my parents and my grandparents have been paying for for more than half a century.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451425)

I have to pay my TV license every year for the BBC.

And here across the pond I have to pay the music industry for every RW-CD I buy regardless of use. But they still want to sell you the same thing twice. I think you in the UK stand a better chance of getting DRM-free BBC, than we do of getting rid of the music tax. For us Yankees just how much is your TV liscense? I might want to pay it from here, If that got me some BBC DVDs.

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451503)

You realize that you can record music onto a data CD-RW (which are not encumbered with a fee)? Or are you applying the term "Yankee" to Canadians, who do have to pay a license fee for CD-RW disks?

Re:Freedom of information act may already cover th (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451559)

But I think the BBC is not considered a public authority. It's certainly not part of the government. And technically (at least legally) the licence fee is not a tax.

Greed - Pure and simple (1)

Raisey-raison (850922) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451669)

If you pay the license fee you should not have to pay twice for the content. Funny how if you copy one song - that IP theft. If through the use of DRM you prevent millions of people for using your content (that they have already paid for) then it is ok - no-one suggests that its mass larceny. Also unbelievable how a public organization supposed to exist for the 'public good' consults with the public about DRM and then ignores them. Yeah - that really makes sense. One suggestion: Make the BBC produce all its content under a creative commons license. That would be progress!

Re:Greed - Pure and simple (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452007)

"IP theft" - stop inventing crimes! ~_~ I Agree though that this whole thing is rediculous (sp?), and the contradictions faced here are more harmful than good in the end. Creative Commons licensing wouild be helpful in a variety of ways.

Slashdot subscription? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452273)

Ladies and gentlemen... I present to you the ONE person who actually pays to read Slashdot!

Free (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451161)

Damn straight, I pay the license fee, so the damn content should be available to me for free.

Re:Free (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451213)

"To you" being the operative words... without DRM the content would be free to those who haven't paid their license fee, which is against the BBC's charter. It would mean folks just wouldn't pay their license fees, as they could get the content for free, which means no money is put into the BBC, which means no shows, which means everyone suffers. Yay!

Re:Free (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451375)

without DRM the content would be free to those who haven't paid their license fee, which is against the BBC's charter
Last time I read the BBC's charter (which, to be fair, was about five years ago), they were required to make use of any means available to them to get their content to UK citizens. There was no mention of it only being available to license payers; you can read the BBC web site or listen to BBC radio, for example, without paying the license fee.

I don't watch much TV these days, but I do enjoy the other services. My TV license is up for renewal in a few months, and if they still intend to spend some of the money supporting Microsoft abusing their monopoly position (in exactly the way that the EU is prosecuting them for), then I will ditch the TV completely and not renew the license.

Re:Free (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451433)

If you have a PC that is capable of listening to BBC radio, you technically should have a radio license. The other part of their charter that deals with this is they have to strike a balance between providing the content to license fee payers, and stopping those who don't have licenses from getting it. That's why they (or, rather the TV licensing authority) enforce the TV license, and that's why the TV license isn't optional but mandatory for those who receive the content in the UK.

The BBC isn't supporting Microsoft, they're supporting the people, most of who use Microsoft. If you're going to get sand in your vagina over that, and refuse BBC content, then please go ahead. No skin off anyone else's nose but your own :)

Re:Free (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451549)

If you have a PC that is capable of listening to BBC radio, you technically should have a radio license
You only need a radio license in the UK if you plan on broadcasting. Receiving radio broadcasts on any frequency is either legal or illegal, depending on the frequency (some military / police frequencies are illegal). You do not need a license of any kind to own an AM, FM or DAB radio that can receive BBC programs.

The BBC isn't supporting Microsoft, they're supporting the people, most of who use Microsoft
Really? How many people in the UK own a mobile phone? How many of those are capable of playing back video? And, of those, how many run a Microsoft OS or media player? Only being able to play back the TV shows you download on your computer seriously limits their use, since most people keep their computers near their TVs (i.e. in their house). Being able to take downloaded shows with you is the killer app for downloadable content, and most of the last couple of generation of phones can play back unencumbered MPEG-4 video. Even mine, free two years ago with the cheapest possible contract can, and most teenagers I see these days have even more advanced ones. It can't, however, play back MS DRM'd content. This is not a geek toy, it is a standard piece of consumer electronics, and is right in the target market for downloadable TV content.

Please try to remember that PCs are not the only possible playback devices, and to a lot of the non-geek market they are not even the most appealing (you can't watch things on your PC while you're on a bus or train very easily, for example). Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop market, and (for the most part) they earned it by providing a better price/performance ratio on their products than their competitors in the '80s and '90s. They do not have a monopoly in the mobile market, and I strongly object to public money being spent giving them one.

Re:Free (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451571)

By "radio license" I meant the discounted TV license for people who only have radio sets and no TV, obviously.

The BBC's media is clearly intended to be viewed on a large-screen PC, not a 2.something" screen on your phone. As soon as the BBC can find a way of protecting its content on those mobile phones, the content will be there. The BBC does what its charter allows and what the public wants. Just because people have devices that can't play un-DRM'd media doesn't mean they can ditch their charter and start giving content away for free.

Re:Free (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451687)

By "radio license" I meant the discounted TV license for people who only have radio sets and no TV, obviously.
There is no such license. There are two forms of TV license; those for people with black-and-white TVs, and those for colour. There is also a concessionary rate for blind people, I believe. There is no 'radio license,' 'TV license for people with only radio sets,' or any other form of license required to receive non-TV BBC material. You don't need a TV license to browse news.bbc.co.uk, nor to listen to Radio 4.

Re:Free (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451583)

Absolute rubbish there is no such thing as a radio license [bbc.co.uk] . Do your research. The same goes for all the other idiots (or possibly music and TV industry shills) claiming that the BBC has to use DRM because of their charter. The BBC has to use DRM because of lobbying (of the government, the BBC trustees, and Ofcom) by its competitors that want to hobble the distribution of free content. This was clear from the BBC's own announcement on the decision to use DRM (you did read it? No? How odd!).

Re:Free (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451409)

I'm not English so I don't know... is the licensing fee mandatory (just part of your taxes), or is it optional?

Re:Free (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451579)

It's mandatory if you have a tv capable of revieving transmitted data or anything that allows you to recieve television transmissions.

Re:Free (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451783)

Even if you don't have a TV they'll keep sending you letters about not having a license registered to your address.

Re:Free (2, Interesting)

swab79 (842256) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451487)

You should check out Zattoo. It's an internet TV service. Right now it is only available in Switzerland, however, a couple of weeks ago I signed up to be notified when it becomes available in the UK. Yesterday I got an email asking me to become one of the first in the UK to use Zattoo.

I signed up, downloaded the Linux client (LGPL) and can now watch 7 BBC channels plus France 24, TVE Internacional and TV Polonia!

No mention from Zattoo of the need for a TV license, so not sure if this is the case.

Re:Free (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451509)

mean folks just wouldn't pay their license fees


Since you obviously don't live in the UK if you don't pay your license and they can prove you are watching their content (either via a TV or a TV tuner in your computer) then you get fined £2000 maybe more. You might even get prison time.

Whats the difference here?

Watch for free over the TV watch for free over the internet, either way they can still track you down. They find violators by those who DON'T have a license registered to their address.

I used to live in a place and not own a TV and I would get nasty letters from them about every 3 months.

youtube geo-blocked "bring the UK to the world" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451197)

If the BBC's charter is "bringing the UK to the world"
then why is the BBC's channel on youtube geo-blocked outside the UK?

(and yes the BBC World channel is open but it does not carry the same content)

The BBC seems to be on an ugly trend lately, embracing Microsoft, DRM, geo-blocking... what's next? content censorship for viewers in China, etc?

Re:youtube geo-blocked "bring the UK to the world" (2, Informative)

aslate (675607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451315)

This has always been the way. The BBC operates as an internal and external company, with BBC World being entirely self-funding (and must do so under the BBC charter). The other main reason for the geoblocking on online BBC media is the fact that the BBC often are not the sole copyright owner with many productions being produced by studios for the BBC who often retain some rights.

Re:youtube geo-blocked "bring the UK to the world" (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452323)

Thank you for correcting something that I appear to have misquoted earlier. I wasn't aware that the World Service was self-funding. When I worked for the UK Government and lived in the UK the World Service was, I believe, receiving funding via the FCO because of the recognised value of having UK influence around the globe. If this has now been stopped then I must stand corrected, although it seems very short-sighted of the UK if you are correct!

The problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451205)

The problem is royalties for net based distribution, the morons at equity (the union) refuse to recognize that repeat fees are unworkable in the digital age.

It will change gradually as those who stick to the outmoded royalties model find themselves without work. If these guys really want to protest - target equity [equity.org.uk]

Anti-Semitism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451709)

Will they also call the BBC on their anti-semitism?

Re:Anti-Semitism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451839)

Grow up!

Amazon does use DRM (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451253)

Amazon Unbox is as DRM infested as they come. Perhaps they've chosen to unencumber certain music tracks (no doubt to "coincide" with a price hike), but movies? No way.

Wrong for both technically and financial reasons (5, Insightful)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451257)

I see no reason why the BBC should award a monopoly to any company and their media format for material owned by the BBC. It is not the job of the BBC to support Microsoft, Real or any other closed format exclusively.

I note with interest that the various free/open media formats are available on every platform and do not require license payments. The only reason not to use a free/open format is DRM and if that is the case here then the BBC is making a wrong choice for both technical and financial reasons.

Re:Wrong for both technically and financial reason (1)

Taco Meat (1104291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451309)

The whole "M$ iz a monopolise" thing is getting a bit trite, don't you think? So is the whole "DRM iz evul" schtick. Just because its badly implemented by many doesn't mean it's bad. It just means that you won't get everything you want for free. Gues what? That's life. What, is having to pay for groceries infringing on some percieved right to free food?

BBC will choose the best provider for it's technology. If that's MSFT, then great! If not, then so be it. DRM can be a good thing, especially for the BBC. They can maximize their profite by using DRM properly.

Re:Wrong for both technically and financial reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451349)

So where can I as a license fee payer download source code for this magical Microsoft DRM product?

I'm running linux on PPC.

Cheers

Re:Wrong for both technically and financial reason (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451397)

One of the main reasons for wanting to download TV shows is to be able to watch them in places other than the living room, for example on portable media players or mobile 'phones. The BBC's proposal, to use Microsoft DRM, effectively hands this entire market to Microsoft. I own a few mobile devices capable of video playback, but none of them run Wince, and so none of them are capable of playing back Microsoft DRM'd content.

They can maximize their profite by using DRM properly
Last time I read the BBC's charter, maximising profit was not one of their objectives. Making culture available to the greatest number of people possible was.

Re:Wrong for both technically and financial reason (1)

Taco Meat (1104291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451417)

"Last time I read the BBC's charter, maximising profit was not one of their objectives. Making culture available to the greatest number of people possible was."

Uh huh. And Microsoft's objective is to produce the worlds greatest software!

Re:Wrong for both technically and financial reason (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451471)

Uh huh. And Microsoft's objective is to produce the worlds greatest software!
Here in the UK, Microsoft is not a taxpayer-funded organisation. The BBC is. Microsoft's principle responsibility is to its shareholders. The BBC's is to the citizens of the UK.

Re:Wrong for both technically and financial reason (1)

Taco Meat (1104291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452013)

Speaking of the UK, do all of you still have messed up teeth? Every Brit I know has teeth that make the Bantha monster look like Cindy Crawford.

Re:Wrong for both technically and financial reason (1)

brother sloth (991002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451325)

I agree. The BBC and everyone else should stay away from M$ products. I can think of at least ten reasons why, and I wrote a rant about this a while ago on my blog site. Have a look at my rant on this [goatse.ca] .

Re:Wrong for both technically and financial reason (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451883)

Most MS formats if not all are free to use on any OS in the EU (you have to download the OSS implementation of it, but its not protected by license or patents)

Financial reasons (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451885)

While I can imagine recent programming would be covered by this, a lot of the BBCs archives have little or no financial potential and can be made available.

Childrens programmes, old TV shows etc.. have been long paid for and wouldn't earn much on DVD.

Lets not forget that home taping of TV shows is the only reason some TV shows exist these days. I've seen it a few times on nostalgia shows where they have used someone's VCR recording to show a clip. The more the BBC can spread their programming the more chance it will all survive in the future.

Umm there's something wrong with this tea party (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451285)

So some group of yahoo's out of Massachusetts have decided that they dont like restrictions on free content? The anti-drm argument is fine when its paid for content (If I buy it I should be able to do what I want) but free content should be distributed however the owner wants to do it. Their arguments are rather sad. The first one is that DRM doesnt work, if thats the case then why worry about it, just circumvent it and shut the hell up. The second point makes no sense, what right do you have to free content? The third point streches it about as far as it can go...you can watch anytime you want so how is the lack of being able to copy inhibiting your ability to learn? DRM is their business decision, in some cases its done to protect content that can provide revenue to the BBC such as blocking access to the Torchwood site content to those outside the area's in which its shown. The argument is made that the BBC is paid for by the public, which is true but last I checked Boston didnt pay the TV tax so IMHO they have negated their voice in the matter simply by location. I hate DRM as much as anyone but the argument made by Binary Freedom Bostom just comes across as a bunch of whining hippies who were upset that they couldnt easily record Hex.

Re:Umm there's something wrong with this tea party (1)

Jeremy_Bee (1064620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451551)

Your really missing the point here; possibly because of a lack of knowledge about BBC, the UK, and the history behind all of this. I know I am making a big assumption there as to your background, but your comments make no sense to me except as being made by an uninformed observer.

The BBC is a public service and does not operate on the same standard corporate level that you seem to think it does. That's why they have a charter from the government (quoted many times in the article).

To refute your formulation of the articles main talking points specifically:

1st point - In regards DRM "not working" ... the point is that circumvention of DRM is illegal and not something within the technical capabilities of the average user. Your suggestion would also turn all users into criminals and pirates.

2nd point - BBC users and UK citizens absolutely have the right to free content from the BBC. It's written in the charter as the article says.

3rd point - Viewing an internet video feed, and using the same material as part of an essay, report, study, artwork etc. (all under fair use), are two different things. The second one requires the ability to copy.

       

Re:Umm there's something wrong with this tea party (1)

rek2 (1091071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451575)

sorry but they are not a yahoo group, they work together with defective by design, badvista, the FSF and the EFF among others: http://www.binaryfreedom.info/ [binaryfreedom.info] http://badvista.fsf.org/blog/activists-inform-vist a-partygoers-in-boston [fsf.org] http://www.defectivebydesign.org/blog/1033 [defectivebydesign.org] .

Ownership of content (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451291)

Part of the problem is that a lot of the "BBC's" content isn't actually owned by the BBC because they just buy it in from 3rd parties (I'm talking original programming here, not stuff bought from the US etc).

The smart thing to do (depending on your attitude towards these things) would be to take the Apple-esque route and make all of the BBC-owned content available sans-DRM (but maintaining the existing geo-IP blocks for non UK users as is required) and then make everything else available DRM-encumbered with clear information explaining why this is the case and who to contact if you want to bitch about it.

To be honest, I do believe that if they had the choice, the BBC would open up all of their archives for DRM-free download to UK citizens, but it's not always as simple as that.

Re:Ownership of content (1)

AnyoneEB (574727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451729)

Gah, misclicked on moderating parent (hit "redundant" instead of "insightful"). Replying to cancel moderation.

It would be interesting to see the people's reaction to that. I suspect most people would not really notice. Possibly they would just be confused that they could convert some files and not others, probably in the way of iTunes can put some of them on their iPod, but not all of them. It would probably get some anti-DRM feedback, though, and, if the BBC is able to do that, then they should.

Re:Ownership of content (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452023)


I doubt people would be too confused. It's reasonably simple to grasp the difference between 'protected' and 'unprotected.' You give too little credit. Often the distinction between the techie and the non-techie is not one of understanding, but simply a lag in that understanding. The people who browse /. know things ahead of the curve. Doesn't mean the rest of the people wont be close behind. It just takes a while for information to spread.

Re:Ownership of content (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451973)

If you geo-blocked based on ip then UK citizens outside the UK wouldn't be able to view the content.

in soviet britan (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451317)

music own you

How about never? (2, Interesting)

residents_parking (1026556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451343)

The BBC is a state protected monopoly, a relic of a bygone modernist age. The TV License is not a tax, nor are the BBC part of the state. They are a media company guaranteed a significant income by the laws of the land, for which they in turn have to meet certain criteria in their programming and the way the business is run. But they still sell DVDs at a profit, why should they not try to milk the market any way they see fit? FYI I'm not a fan of the setup. From the start the BBC was supposed to "Educate, Entertain, and Inform." This was pre-WWII mind. The world is different now, there's no shortage of transmission technology, no use for a monopoly just to keep morale up during the depression and then the blitz. I'd happily settle for "Educate" and leave the other two to commercial programmers.

What about NPR? (3, Interesting)

freelunch (258011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451359)

Why can't we easily download NPR content in a friendly format?

It seems like their audio is WMV or RP and the download links are buried. I don't want to launch a proprietary player from my browser or otherwise, thankyourverymuch.

Re:What about NPR? (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451419)

Why can't we easily download NPR content in a friendly format?

Some local NPR affiliates release their broadcasts in open formats even through nationally NPR does not. BTW, why are you still listening to NPR? It really isn't "public" media anymore, and the political slant is about as right wing as fox news. Pro-war, pro-religion, pro-corporatism. "Nationalist Public Radio" perhaps? "National Pentagon Radio"? I prefer Democracy Now! [democracynow.org] for my news. They offer one hour ogg vorbis streams every day.

Re:What about NPR? (1)

AnyoneEB (574727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451759)

BTW, why are you still listening to NPR? It really isn't "public" media anymore, and the political slant is about as right wing as fox news. Pro-war, pro-religion, pro-corporatism. "Nationalist Public Radio" perhaps? "National Pentagon Radio"?

I admit have not listened to NPR very often in the past year or so, but this comment surprises me. Could you provide links to articles showing this? Generally it is pretty easy to find a news report you heard on the air on their website.

More like middle aged spread. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452299)

The comment is a bit over the top. Studies have shown that NPR is about the same as the mainstream media on the political spectrum. This seems correct to me. Its basic news coverage is not really any different from the commercial network radio's.

What sets it apart is that it still does longer and much more complex pieces, real shoe-leather journalism. That's an art that's almost lost. A relative of mine spent the late 80s and most of the 90s out of the country. When she returned, she was shocked to find that the network news had become infotainment/opinion magazines, and NPR had become what the network news used to be.

NPR is still a very formidable news organization, but it seems to me to be showing its age. Some suggest they have become averse to controversy, either because of right wing criticism or because of fear of offending their sponsors.

Personally, I think it's more like middle aged spread. They're less breaking ground than falling into the well worn mainstream media groove, talking to the same sources, repeating the same opinions, doing the same stories. The former young turks like Cokie Roberts have become old fogies. Perhaps this is the inevitable result of being enbalmed with the beltway elites for too long. Some people divine a rightward shift since the shakeup that ousted Bob Edwards. Steven Inskeep (Edwards' successor) sometimes gets criticized for asking Fox style "questions" drawn from the Republican talking points (e.g. in the run up to the 2006 midterms: "If the Democrats win isnt this a win for the far-left of your party?"). It's ironic because they gave Edwards the old heave ho to bring in "new blood", and the result is that Morning Edition sounds a lot less distinctive.

On the other hand, 91 year old Daniel Schorr is still sharp-eyed and feisty. If I were President, I'd put him on my enemies list, and you can't give higher praise to a journalist, IMO. I hope when he dies, he comes back and haunts the Oval Office.

Amazon Ditched DRM? (1)

RebrandSoftware (817021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451527)

Then why the Amazon Unbox DRM on my Tivo? I "rent" a movie, it's downloaded to my Tivo automatically. I have 30 days to watch it before it's deleted from my Tivo. Once I start watching it, I have to finish within 24 hours or it's deleted from my Tivo. Those stingy rules are the reason I don't rent from Amazon Unbox other than my initial test.

Licencing issues... (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451569)

Don't forget that the BBC doesn't always have the rights for some of the programming, or only has rights to broadcast within certain geographic boundaries. For example football (soccer) matches are sold in other markets as PPV whilst being free in the UK. Those broadcasters abroad will not be happy if everyone can watch those matches off of the BBC web site for free.

When the BBC channels were broadcast on the old satellite the satellite foot print meant that many european countries could also pick up the channels. In order to have some control the channels were encrypted. You could watch them for free with an appropriate access card which required you to have a UK address. Now the channels are not encrypted because they've moved to a satellite with a far smaller foot print which covers basically the UK and the Republic of Ireland plus the periphery of the European mainland.

The DRM is used to fulfil the licencing requirements of programs or content used in programs. If you download some of the podcasts there are bits missing because the BBC isn't allowed to put them in the podcast. The same must be true for other programs...

GFY, Yanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451587)

My license fee pays for this content. Why should you get it for nothing?

won't happen (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451595)

I'm a license payer, I've tried to email them about the content not working with open formats and needed real player/WMP. I simply don't understand why they don't allow it to work with Helix player or even provide it as an ogg download so that it would be really easy to play it in linux through mplayer.

The automated response I got threatened to sue me if I told anyone the contents in a way which I'm pretty sure isn't legal (but i'm used to being threatened by the BBC...). I never got a real reply. Over the summer I was considering writing one letter a week... but it would be so much more effective if we could organise such as that every morning they had at least 200 letters on the matter...

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19451673)

TV License? (1)

Jerry Smith (806480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451693)

The BBC is well watched in lots of countries in the world (hurray Dr. Who in 30 minutes!!) yet not all the viewer pay the hundreds of euros/dollars for that privilege. Right now I pay less for the beeb than when I lived and worked in London, even when nowadays BBC3 and 4 are available. Point is: they have the right to market their reputation, and if they think they need to protect it with a light DRM (comparable to Apples), well so be it. It's a treasure trove of data, and they can do with it whatever they want.

Re:TV License? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19451855)

You're missing the point.

The DRM is to restrict what? People in England not paying the license?

They are dealing with that problem quite effectively already so whats the point in wasting money and the users time DRMing it all?

I don't understand the BBC (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452243)

They air their programs world wide, via satellite, they make extraordinarily good journalism, they're a public television and once the program's has aired, it just disappears into oblivion...That's not vey smart.

Why not let people download all their content with tools like the Democracy player? What have they to loose if more people see a fantastic BBC documentary they like? What's it to them if I wanna keep a documentary where I actually learn something?

It makes no sense to me. The content has already been paid for (by taxes of UK citizens). I mean, maybe if you're British you don't think its fair but, I think you got to look at it as a great way to divulge "brand Britain."

I think France and Germany do a much better job of divulging their country and culture than the Brits (colonialism techniques notwithstanding;-)). Germany has Deutsche Welle and the Goethe Institute, and France has always understood the importance of catering to their "francophone" audience. They know they are people that'll actually consume French products (literature, movies, a trip to Paris, etc.)

The BBC has got to loosen up that tight upper lip.

PS: We are still waiting for Dirac. ;-)
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