UK Regulators Allow BBC To DRM Its Content

from the lame dept

Following on the US FCC's decision to let Hollywood add some DRM to movies it broadcasts to television, it looks like UK regulators Ofcom have gone even further in allowing the BBC to similarly use a form of DRM to try to stop copying of HD programming. Not surprisingly, this also came at the request of the entertainment industry. But, again, this seems to be about breaking what your technology allows, just so that the entertainment industry can have the illusion of control. The reports all say things like "This will allow broadcasters to stop piracy of shows," but that's patently ridiculous. There are always ways around these blocks for those who really want to get there -- and those shows will still end up online just as quickly (or maybe a few seconds later). And at that point, the locks are meaningless... except to folks who didn't want to have to buy an expensive locked down settop box that is required to view this kind of content. It's an incredibly anti-consumer move that has little to no benefit to the entertainment industry, other than in their minds.


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    Yogi, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 1:32am

    Wierd

    Isn't the BBC publicly funded? Why would you DRM something that has already been paid for by the public?

     

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      Richard (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 1:35am

      Re: Wierd

      Isn't the BBC publicly funded? Why would you DRM something that has already been paid for by the public?

      unfortunately the BBC buys a lot of rubbish from US producers - and doesn't have full rights to it.

       

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      Tim, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 2:13am

      Re: Wierd

      Yes but they spend far more than they receive. So they try to make money through DVD sales of programmes after they show up on TV.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 2:13am

      Re: Wierd

      Yes but they spend far more than they receive. So they try to make money through DVD sales of programmes after they show up on TV.

       

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      Terry W, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 2:53am

      Re: Wierd

      The public funding only grants you the right to watch a given program LIVE per-se.

      The content (and copyright) of a programme "generally" still belongs to the production company that was COMMISSIONED to make it, by the BBC.

      If you believe anything else, you really don't have much of a clue.

       

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        Richard (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 3:32am

        Re: Re: Wierd

        The content (and copyright) of a programme "generally" still belongs to the production company that was COMMISSIONED to make it, by the BBC.

        Nowadays this is true a lot of the time (not all the time though). The BBC used to make all its programmes itself, however a few years back the government "privatised" the production process so that separate companies actually made a lot of the content. Later they changed the rules to force the BBC to allow the production companies to retain most of the underlying rights.

        So although in recent times the production companies often hold the rights, older BBC programmes are generally owned by the BBC.
        Attempts have been made to claim otherwise but the courts have rejected them - eg http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/apr/16/bbc.medialaw

         

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    Richard (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 1:33am

    Depressing - but ..

    should be very easy to get around - since it is only the EPG that is protected and that only by a very weak scheme.

     

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    Moo^2, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 1:34am

    this is what will happen:

    Hey I just bought this new and awesome dvr. Wait? what!! It doesn't work on bbc HD shows? Guess I'll have to download it from illicit sources again.

    Geoblocking, SOC, DRM, these are not the tools to combat piracy. Piracy is already about circumventing these tools, what you *want* is an accessible and ease-of-use database that rivals the piratebay in content, not hardware crippled from the get-go to stop people from timeshifting LEGALY.

    you'd thing that after 13 years they would *get it*.

     

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      senshikaze (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 5:56am

      Re: this is what will happen:

      they are too busy masturbating to the shit they spew about themselves.

      I am pretty sure at this point it is actually only a few idiots behind the whole anti-piracy movement. It cannot be that everyone west of the Rocky Mountains has gone retarded (I hope).

       

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    Planespotter (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 2:04am

    Does this make all our current HD enable devices obsolete? will we now be expected to buy new DRM crippled systems to continue watching HD content aired on the BBC HD channel?

    /heads off to alt.binaries.......

     

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      Moo^2, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 2:10am

      Re:

      this *could* lead to a situation like that: old non-compatible dvrs will not be able to record and new compatible dvrs blocked from recording.

      yeah, I'm not sure how this deters piracy either. Perhaps there is an Ofcom official that wanders by and explain this to us mere mortals.

      the regulators, they must be crazy.

       

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    PaulT (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 3:01am

    "yeah, I'm not sure how this deters piracy either"

    It doesn't, it just gives some clueless executives the impression that "something" is being done. As ever, the second the DRM is broken (probably the second they start using it), nobody downloading "pirated" copies will be affected. Only those trying to use the content legally will be incovenienced - driving them to illegal sources to get their HD (as happens now with people who miss the US content not allowed on iPlayer or who miss the iPlayer deadline to watch downloaded shows).

     

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    Pete Austin, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 3:05am

    Only the Programme Guide seems Affected

    ... and there are a lot of other sources for equivalent information, for example Websites.

     

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      Richard (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 5:34am

      Re: Only the Programme Guide seems Affected

      Unfortunately I don't see many major manufacturers making devices that can't read the EPG. However this could still be blocked by Europe. The ORg received the following reply from the EC

      Whether or not there is a violation of EU competition law depends on a range of factual, legal and economic issues. However, this initiative appears to introduce a de facto technical regulation which may impact the marketing of products in the UK and the trade between member states. The European Commission is monitoring the situation.


      (from) http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2010/no-news-from-ofcom-on-bbc-drm

       

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    Technopolitical (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 3:30am

    Following on the US FCC's decision to let Hollywood add some DRM to movies it broadcasts to television, it looks like UK regulators Ofcom have gone even further in allowing the BBC to similarly use a form of DRM to try to stop copying of HD programming.

    Thank G-D ,, great idea ,, there is hope for the future !!

    Artists will rule the world -- soon.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 3:42am

      Re: Following on the US FCC's decision to let Hollywood add some DRM to movies it broadcasts to television, it looks like UK regulators Ofcom have gone even further in allowing the BBC to similarly use a form of DRM to try to stop copying of HD programmi

      Artists can't even rule their own lives, much less the world.

      Proof: they have to sign off their rights to the recording industry to try to make a buck because they are too dumb to figure it out themselves.

       

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      Richard (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 3:50am

      Re: Following on the US FCC's decision to let Hollywood add some DRM to movies it broadcasts to television, it looks like UK regulators Ofcom have gone even further in allowing the BBC to similarly use a form of DRM to try to stop copying of HD programmi

      No - artists are the suckers in this one - the real winners are the shadowy people in the DTLA (a tech. company industry group) who get ultimate control over HDTV and they will screw the artists just as hard as they screw the customers (probably harder).

       

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 7:57am

      Re: Following on the US FCC's decision to let Hollywood add some DRM to movies it broadcasts to television, it looks like UK regulators Ofcom have gone even further in allowing the BBC to similarly use a form of DRM to try to stop copying of HD programmi

      Later on scientists will tell you that you have an IQ of 47.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Following on the US FCC's decision to let Hollywood add some DRM to movies it broadcasts to television, it looks like UK regulators Ofcom have gone even further in allowing the BBC to similarly use a form of DRM to try to stop copying of HD programmi

      Power rules the world. Influence rules the world. Money rules the world. Artists are just as corruptible as any other schmuck out there.

       

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    J, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 4:05am

    On the bright side.

    This is good, the more cumbersome they make the more people look for alternatives and the more popular those alternatives become :)

     

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    Lachlan Hunt (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 5:40am

    The problem with this bogus DRM claim is that the actual video stream is still unencrypted. They're relying on licensing terms agreed to by vendors who are then given the Huffman tables to deobfuscate the EPG. Existing hardware that can receive the transmissions can still quite happily access the video content, and the EPG is not at all needed for recording the program, although it can perhaps help with some automatic timers.

     

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    AJ, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    It's a good thing...

    In my opinion, all this locking down content is a good thing. It forces the people that believe information should be free to come up with new and interesting ways to share it. For every action the AA's have taken, the people have come up with a way to defeat it. Lock down the content, we will unlock it. Take down a web site, 20 more will pop up to take its place. Inspect our packets, we will use encryption. Break our encryption (or force us to give out the keys)/ lock down the internet, and we will walk a flash drive over to our friends house to share the information. It will never stop. The people of the planet have determined the value of this information; they are not going to suddenly change their minds regardless of how many laws and treaties that are made. You can't put this cat back in the bag.

    If you are a performer, recording studio, movie studio, producer... etc.. etc..., and you cannot develop a business model that works, then get another job. You can bet someone will figure out how to make it work, and profit from it, while still giving the people what they want.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 7:48am

    The Unbearable Irrationality of Being ...

    "It's an incredibly anti-consumer move that has little to no benefit to the entertainment industry, other than in their minds."

    Recently I watched a video of a couple execs at a record label discussing "Piracy" and their business. It was actually pretty pathetic. My friend wanted to know was this video some sort of fake, spoof, or parody? As an outsider looking in I noticed, they are seriously afraid, they deny that there is anything wrong with the way they run their business, they strike out at any disenting voice, they feed on each other, and they rationalize everything.

    In their minds adding DRM, SOC, laws, and agreements with other industries adds comfort, hope, and gives them the illusion of control. In the end reality will rear its ugly head, they will open the door and find their offices empty, their bank accounts drained, and everything they have worked for having no real worth.

     

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      senshikaze (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 7:58am

      Re: The Unbearable Irrationality of Being ...

      while i hope for that joyous day, i think it is many years away as the industry(recording, not music) goes through it's death throes. It will not be a fun time to be a fan of, well, anything. But I can see the light at the end, and I know the promised land is soon upon us.
      It has been a horrible 70+ years.

       

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 8:14am

    cause they like one other article

    dont get copying is smart

    thus they join stupid on the monumental level

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jun 17th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    BBC Shoots Self in Foot

    We download and view on my computer a number of great BBC shows which otherwise are either not available in the US, or not available in a timely manner. Interestingly enough, when these are available here in DVD format, we purchase them. If we cannot find the shows we are interested in and can view without encumbrances on the net (we don't get cable, satellite, or broadcast TV), then BBC will lose from my family alone probably a $1000 USD per year in income. Their bad...

     

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    Jim, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 10:30am

    It's not an illusion

    I agree that DRM won't be at all effective at stopping copying; however, I don't agree that it only gives the entertainment industry "the illusion of control." This type of end-to-end DRM will give the entertainment industry legal recourse to stop many of the disruptive technologies it won't like. With it, they can make offerings like digital video recorders and set-top software (e.g., Boxee) illegal unless to companies that provide those offering pay up. Thank you DMCA anti-circumvention clause.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2010 @ 2:34am

      Re: It's not an illusion

      ban disruptive technologies? oh great, that means they are going to ban almost everything, including basic human interaction.

      I will be thrilled to see this future.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:19pm

    what if I put a HD camcorder in front of the tele and filmed it???

    then uploaded that?

    Whats next? making camcorders illegal????

     

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