×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

BBC Trust Will Hear iPlayer Openness Complaints

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the tv-without-internet-explorer dept.

Television 177

AnotherDaveB writes with a Register story reporting that the BBC Trust has asked to meet with open source advocates to discuss their complaints over the corporation's Windows-only on-demand broadband TV service, iPlayer. The development came less than 48 hours after a meeting between the Open Source Consortium and regulators at Ofcom on Tuesday. Officials agreed to press the Trust, the BBC's governing body, to meet the OSC. The consortium received an invitation on Wednesday afternoon.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Openness Complaints (5, Funny)

ThisIsWhyImHot (1121637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838251)

My girlfriend is constantly making these and I've noticed that the best way to adress them is to accuse her of using windows.

Re:Openness Complaints (2, Funny)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838493)

Silly...everybody knows slashdotters don't have girlfriends.
Pfft.

Re:Openness Complaints (-1, Offtopic)

ThisIsWhyImHot (1121637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838525)

I forgot to mention my girlfriend is a bot on a linux forum...

Re:Openness Complaints (2, Funny)

Source Quench (857046) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838945)

Is her name Anna?

Re:Openness Complaints (1)

ukatoton (999756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839127)

*plays basshuneter cd*

^_^

I literally LOL'd at the reference <_<. This is why I come to slashdot.

It won't matter cause no one watches the BBC (1)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838253)

now when Spike TV or Noggin signs up, let me know so I can open one eye

Alba (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838283)

Jessica Alba needs to embrace openess...of her legs. I want to hit that.

What can they really do? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838289)

As long as they want to use DRM, what options do they have? Should they just not make thier material available until there is a player for everyone? It seems like that is kind of screwing everybody who uses IE and wants to see the material now.

Re:What can they really do? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838369)

what options do they have?

They don't know, because it appears they didn't even bother to try and find out before rushing into a deal with Microsoft that ties them into Windows Media.

Re:What can they really do? (4, Insightful)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838403)

Isn't RealPlayer on almost all major OSes? Or don't they have a version of DRM that works on across platforms?

Re:What can they really do? (4, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838799)

Real Networks warned open source community about future potential problem with DRM, it got covered on Slashdot and they got flamed instead.

Yes, they have a working DRM solution for almost everything you can imagine. Millions of Verizon etc. phones are using their software already to play purchased music. Of course, this happens because the WOKE UP and saw the power of open source, created Helix community offering their millions dollars worth patents for free to GPL projects.

I also heard BBC other Windows Media DRM vendor is not so happy with feedback they get from the users. Azureus'es "Media center" like version (Vuze, 3.x) already sells BBC content in Wmedia DRM. Imagine a Java 5/6 application which works exactly same on 3-4 completely different operating systems is "prisoned" to Windows DRM solution to make money. Would you be happy? :)

There the BBC Content: http://www.vuze.com/channel/bbc [vuze.com]

Vuze runs on anything with modern Java but can't "sell"/"rent" legal content because of the format (Wmedia DRM) is hostile to any OS other than Windows. Now they are attempting to create same thing.

There is a waiting scandal there for Professional IT media. If any left...

Re:What can they really do? (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839511)

Realplayer on Linux does stop you from recording stuff. The problem is that it does not, AFAIK, have a download and expire after a set time function which is what the BBC want.

I am sure it could be done if the BBC did a deal with them instead of MS.

Re:What can they really do? (2, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838407)

The problem is, they wouldn't bother until anyone complained most likely.

Anyway, what do you consider "Everyone"?

Windows and Apple?
Do you add Linux?
BSD?
Solaris?
True64?
VMS?
BeOS? (yes, apparantly people still use this)
[Insert Cell Phone OS here]?
PalmOS? ...

Who do you include, who do you drop?

Re:What can they really do? (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838447)

I forgot to add Minix, I insenstive clod!

Re:What can they really do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838551)

They do not need to support OSs, they just need to support fully open standards. It's not difficult to work out.

Re:What can they really do? (2, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838647)

I am well aware of it, but I was making that point because that post's parent seemed to suggest that the companies should make players for all platforms, rather than open standards because of the DRM issues.

Re:What can they really do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19839525)

I see your point after re-reading the original post :-)

Re:What can they really do? (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840347)

:-)

Sad thing is, I keep thinking of more operating systems to add to the list. HPUX, Plan9, OS/2...

Simple answer (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838597)

Use an open standard.
Then the market can provide a variety of players on every OS without impediment.

oh wait, it already has.

I don't think the market can solve all problems, but this one is an easy choice.

Re:Simple answer (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838923)

Is there already an open standard for DRM? I don't know about that stuff.

I think the way they went is probably the most cost effective for the vast majority of people paying the license fee for the time being. People already complain they have to pay the license fee but don't even watch the BBC. How many people (in Britain who pay the license fee) that don't watch the BBC will actually download the BBC?

I think they can worry about an open standard when a proven one becomes available and they have determined that enough people will actually use the download service to begin with.

Re:Simple answer (1, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840061)

Is there already an open standard for DRM?

The solution is this: don't use DRM!

Seriously, it's as simple as that. In fact, it's mathematically proven to be the only solution.

Re:What can they really do? (1)

spikeb (966663) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838559)

not use drm.

Re:What can they really do? (2, Interesting)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838577)

Actually, that's not the case.

Release (or cite, if it is external) the specs for the standard of the file format, along with the protocol used to communicate with the DRMd server, and preferentially a stripped down player with source code for reference and let the developers make their own players for their own platforms. It is possible to have security (DRM, for all that matters) and openness at the same time and, if it was not possible, security through obscurity would not solve the DRM problem, as CSS and the HD-DVD keys debacle proved.

Re:What can they really do? (4, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838665)

As long as they want to use DRM

Well gee, seeing that the material is publicly available, and already paid for ( by a compulsory TV license ) and also already available in digital form without DRM ( through the terrestrial digital broadcast ) why exactly do they have to use DRM to begin with? I only see a few reasons:

a)"Content providers" refuse to license their shows if they don't
b)They have partnered with MS and MS refuse to develop a system that doesn't.
c)Some muppet up in management still believes it can work.
d)All of the above

None of those are valid reasons why a publicly funded company should help strengthen a monopoly that has repeatedly been convicted under anti-trust legislation. Basically what it boils down to is drop the DRM or drop the public funding. As long as the material is paid for by the public it should be available to the public.

Re:What can they really do? (4, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838761)

Because the compulsory TV license covers UK viewers, and we're talking about Internet distribution now?

Re:What can they really do? (4, Informative)

CanadaIsCold (1079483) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838927)

They need to DRM and limit to the UK because of syndication. While most of their shows are public broadcast in the UK they license them to other TV stations that release on a different schedule. These other channels would not want to pay the same amount if the shows were available on the internet for free before they showed them on their channels.

The same thing happens with DVD's of BBC shows. The season may be long over in the UK some times years over but the DVDs won't release until after the american syndication has aired.

Re:What can they really do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838897)

CNN moved its video to a flash player not that long ago and it would be a step in the right direction if BBC did something similar.

Re:What can they really do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19839181)

May be they just need to stall, till Microsoft releases Silverlight version 1.0 which can play all kinds of WMV files on both Windows and Mac. And Mono team is already implementing a Linux version. All Microsoft has to do is release a WMV decoder (probably closed source) to be used in MoonLight (Mono's Silverlight implementation).

Re:What can they really do? (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840031)

As long as they want to use DRM, what options do they have?

The problem is that the premise -- i.e., the desire to use DRM -- is itself the flaw!

This revolution will not be televised (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838359)

This revolution will not be televised on my Linux computers. But maybe the effects will be.

e-Petition (please sign it) (2, Informative)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838367)

Please feel free to sign the petition on the Government website.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/bbcmicrosoft/ [pm.gov.uk]

Always good to raise the profile of this...

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (4, Interesting)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838619)

Is anyone laboring under the impression that e-petitions do anything?

I think it is hard to make a case that the standard paper petitions are effective, but it at least shows that the organizer is dedicated to the cause, and probably some respectable percentage of the signatories at least agree a little.

With an e-petition, the organizer spends what, all of 15 minutes working on a petition, and who are the signatories? Are they even citizens, are they the same guy 30,000 times?

I will never sign an e-petition. I may even start an e-petition to make my case to all those e-petition zealots that me, and probably a few dozen other people wont' stand for more e-petitions. We'll go so far as to enter our email addresses on a web form to show our solidarity. But then again it might just be too much work.

Finally, why in the world would I trust the organizer of an e-petition with any information about my self? Seems like a great way to harvest spammable information. If I don't have to enter any information, how do you know I'm a real person?

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (2, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839015)

Actually in this case they do.

Firstly, you need to be a UK citizin and enter a UK postcode to use the Goverment ePetition.

Secondly, let me quote the example of the Road Charging ePetition on the same site. It forced a response from the (then) Prime Minister Tony Blair and was widely reported in the news and debated in Parliament.

See...
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/archives/2007/02/ 13/road_charge_petition_was_a_car_crash_waiting_to _happen.html [guardian.co.uk]
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6349027.stm [bbc.co.uk]
for more information, or Google it.

That was well over 1m votes in a country with a total population of 60m, or 1 in 60.
So, yes, I think they can work.

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19839259)

Yes Blair pretended he read it, emailed all the people who signed it (the uk gov now has a database 1m email addresses) and basically said thanks for taking the time to complain, but we're going to implement road charging anyway.

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839281)

There is going to have be some change to road taxing in the UK. It is impossible for things to increase as they are currently. Most people who do drive, seem quite happy to ignore this. There needs to be a significant reduction in road traffic, the government has started to realise that the old solution of just building new roads is making the problem worse, not better.

The only way to reduce traffic is to increase the price as much as possible. This is the ONLY way that people will stop driving. You can make public transport free, with dancing girls and free beer, leaving from your stop every 20 seconds, and people will still complain, and get in their car. The UK has great public transport, compared to most over countries - yet still people whinge, and drive the 3 miles into work.

Stop driving, simple. Start working out another way to go. When you buy a house 30 miles from your work, think about it, factor in the huge cost which driving will eventually be.

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839971)

"Stop driving, simple. Start working out another way to go. When you buy a house 30 miles from your work, think about it, factor in the huge cost which driving will eventually be."

I know that public transport can be and is well done over there...since there is such a small land mass, and everything is close together.

But, I gotta ask...how the hell do you go shopping for things like groceries over there, if you don't have a car?? I mean, I'm a single guy..I like to cook, but, no way I could do my shopping without a car. I usually do my shopping either on Saturday, or early Sunday morning (before churches let out and it get really crowded.). I generally spend between $125-$220 or so a week...more $$ when that includes booze for the week.

But, seriously...I usually buy whatever meat is on sale which is usually in a 'family pak', and pretty large. I like to cook on Sundays for mostly the entire week, so I do about 3-4 main dishes and various sides, so I don't get tired of eating the same thing all week.

I pretty much have to do this, as that I'm trying to get back to working out at the gym 4 days a week...so, I don't have much time after a full days work and gym to cook in the evenings. Now, I like to cook...I rarely eat fast food...I'd rather eat good meals I do myself, and save up $$ for a really NICE meal out here and there.

Anyway, I have a 2 seat sports car, and my shopping trips easily fill the truck, and some goes also in the front seat. How in the hell do you carry that many bags of groceries around town...leaving the store, carrying it all to a bus stop, getting all that stuff on a bus (hoping it isn't too crowded), and then lug it from the bus stop all the way to your house??

I'd have a tough time, and it is just me...what about people with a family of say, 4?? I'd dare say most people don't have the time to cook daily...and buying in bulk is cheaper, etc...so, buying little bits of food daily isn't really practical...at least not in my world in the States.

For someone expousing ditching the cars....how do you go shopping?

Hell...I have a problem with having such a SMALL car. If I want to buy anything of size (smoker, grill, tv, etc), I have to get one of my friends with a truck to help me....

This isn't even getting into the parts of living far from work. I dunno how it is over there, but, over here, in many areas, you do NOT want to live near where the job is, if the job is near the more urban areas, unless you like skipping over crime scene tape, and sending your kids to thug ridden, schools.

Like I said..I realize that things are more compact in the UK...and pub. transport is easier and more well developed, but, how do you get by on no private cars as you seem to wish for?

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

garyok (218493) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840089)

When you buy a house 30 miles from your work, think about it, factor in the huge cost which driving will eventually be.

So what are you supposed to do if your job is in London, as about 20% of the jobs in England are? Buy a family home in Greater London for £700k? Public transport's not all that great (crowded, smelly, and nasty in the summer), the train prices are comparable to petrol + depreciation on your car, and it takes on average twice as long to get you where you're going.

It'd be better to encourage folks with huge buy-to-let portfolios to divest themselves of all those spare houses to get some balance back into the housing market. Then maybe folks could afford houses in London again (that aren't next to crack houses or crime blackspots) and people wouldn't have to commute so far or indenture themselves to the banks for the next 25 years. It's all the delays in public transport that put people off and they'd be reduced proportionately with the reduced travel distances. Also, it'd put a huge number of letting agencies out of business and that can't be a bad thing.

We already give up a huge portion of our income to the Exchequer in the UK and the current government's not exactly acted responsibly with it. Giving them more money just encourages them to be even more reckless.

Lemme guess - you live about 50 feet from your job and you'd never be in a position to pay that extra tax that you want everyone else to pay? One of the things wrong with the UK now is the majority of people willing to shit on everyone else as long as it doesn't affect them. Stuff fairness, compromise, negotiation or, God help us, seeing things from somebody else's point-of-view. Live and let live died in the UK in 1997.

What this has to do with the openness of the BBC's media player is totally beyond me though. I'd have thought the solution would be to take out the bit in the BBC's charter that allows them to use any copyrighted music or other media they feel like in their productions. If programmes are wholly original, with original scores, then there'd be no need for the DRM. And we might get the Radiophonic Workshop back.

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840171)

It'd be better to encourage folks with huge buy-to-let portfolios to divest themselves of all those spare houses to get some balance back into the housing market. Then maybe folks could afford houses in London again (that aren't next to crack houses or crime blackspots) and people wouldn't have to commute so far or indenture themselves to the banks for the next 25 years.

blame Gordon Brown for that... when he started raiding the pension funds, those who could got their money out and got into buy-to-let... those who got in on the ground floor are raking it in now. Leaving the rest of us with worthless company pension schemes...

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840131)

The only way to reduce traffic is to increase the price as much as possible.

Or more generally, to increase the cost (which is not necessarily congruent to "price"). You could instead keep the price the same but decrease the convenience, for example.

I would support this kind of thing in Atlanta, GA, USA (my neck of the woods): right now the Interstates going through the city have one HOV (High-Occupancy Vehicle) lane each. I think they ought to increase that to two, not by adding an additional lane, but by converting an existing one. This would allow carpoolers to be able to pass busses, and would also further constrict non-carpooling drivers (which I consider a good thing), as the goal would be to encourage carpooling and transit).

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840389)

The only way to reduce traffic is to increase the price as much as possible. This is the ONLY way that people will stop driving.

What about those of us who have to drive? Lets see:
1. I work about 25 miles away from home in a relatively rural area. Using public transport to get to work is going to take me over 2 hours and involve taking busses via about 3 different towns. I can't afford to buy a house near work because they are rather more expensive than where I currently live.
2. My hobbies include windsurfing - do you actually expect me to get on a bus with all my windsurfing kit?
3. People in rural areas basically have 1 bus a day, so _need_ a car.
4. The train services are running at capacity and therefore cannot carry any more passengers.

No, making it more expensive just means people will have to pay more money, it's not like people drive on jammed-up rush-hour roads for _fun_.

The UK has great public transport

Wrong. London has great public transport. Other cities have reasonable transport into the city (but if you want to go to somewhere not in the city you've got to go all the way into the city and catch a connecting bus). Every time I've tried taking a bus into the city centre here in Southampton it's either taken several times longer than driving or the bus has just plain not turned up.

Meanwhile, taking a train into london is so expensive that it's actually _cheaper_ to drive and pay parking. The solution to this is to improve the public transport, not to force everyone onto the already crippled public transport systems by preventing them from using their cars.

When you buy a house 30 miles from your work, think about it, factor in the huge cost which driving will eventually be.

What you're asking for is for people to move house every time they change jobs. That's just not possible - it costs an average of around 10,000ukp to move house. No, people buy a suitably located house and stay there whilest changing job - most people are not able to get a suitable job within a couple of miles of their house.

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

Thwomp (773873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839041)

I think you're right in majority of cases. However, the UK government's site has proven useful in the past for focusing the media on particular issues. For example earlier this year over 1 million people [bbc.co.uk] signed a petition that was against the introduction of road charging in the UK.

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839521)

Is anyone laboring under the impression that e-petitions do anything?
Yes. They are evidence of negative publicity. For companies or governments that need to be concerned about public opinion, it's worthwhile to have more information that can be used to determine the popularity of an action/inaction -- this is important to protect brand image.

Much like postcard campaigns and email campaigns do have *some* impact on politician's decision-making process (or at least helping to determine where they focus their attention), e-petitions do have an effect.

That said, the effect is typically minimal unless it hits the press.

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (1)

timbo234 (833667) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839567)

Actually (and to my complete amazement) I got a positive response from one of these UK govt. e-petitions. It was about a road rules bill that would have made it compulsory for cyclists to ride in special 'bike lanes' whereever available. On the face of it that sounds fair but actually get on a bike in London and you'll see that some are just downright dangerous. They push you onto a narrow strip on the footpath for 50 metres (where you *will* hit any pedestrians as there just isn't space) before dumping you back onto the road. Much safer to just ride on the road half the time, not that I don't use them when they're placed properly as a 'mini-lane' on the edge of the road.

Anyway the point is I got a reply saying the bill had been ammended to say that cyclists where only obligated to use the 'lanes' when they were safe for all concerned.

Re:e-Petition (please sign it) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19840463)

Alternatively, sign this one [pm.gov.uk] which covers the same issue and has far more signatures.

It's all about drm (3, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838391)

This has less to do with shafting Mac and Linux users and more to do with DRM. BBC is extremely paranoid about its content falling into the hands of consumers outside their control. Look at the website for Torchwood, you can't even view it if your outside the UK. It's not right but it fits with their approach on access to their content. Never mind that people can capture video on their PC's with a 30 dollar tuner card or record shows on dvr's. I wouldnt be surprised if more time and money went into the drm than the actually streaming process itself. Sure they loose a small but decent percentage of their viewers, but at least David wont be able to view Dr Who from the US and Billy wont be able to keep a copy.

Re:It's all about drm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838583)

Its all about drm (Digital Restrictions Management) and about deals and Microsoft encroaching and pressuring the bbc to do it their way. It happens everywhere. Microsoft has an army of lobbyst and "bribers" and crooks pushing to impose their standard. Once you impose Microsoft standards in the web, there is no place for competition and they know it. Once the get rid of the competition, they will be no way of stopping them. Yes, DRM is part of the storie but its mostly about GREEEED !!
#

Re:It's all about drm (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838587)

It's a bit more complicated than that. The BBC often co-produce stuff with other TV companies. It's not the BBC which is responsible for this, it's 3rd parties.

It's not paranoia... (5, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838675)

It's not paranoia, it's commercial sensitivity.

The BBC does not work in isolation. It works in partnership with other broadcasters around the world. And in making its content freely available to licence payers in the UK it has to make sure that it doesn't abuse the rights of its partners by giving away content to those outside the UK, where the rights may be shared with or even wholely owned by those partners.

Take two productions as examples.

The newest Doctor Who stories are co-developments with CBC, a Canadian broadcaster. I imagine that the BBC owns the broadcast rights in the UK, the CBC owns the broadcast rights in Canada and the broadcast rights elsewhere have been split or sold under an agreed formula.

To make Doctor Who freely available to everybody everywhere would be to the detriment of not only the CBC but to those third parties who buy the broadcast rights everywhere else.

Similarly, with Band of Brothers, which was a co-production with HBO, the BBC probably owns the UK rights, HBO the US ones and the rights elsewhere split, etc.

To expect the BBC to release all its content to everyone would be unrealistic, not least of all because securing the worldwide internet rights for all of the productions concerned would be impossible, strategically as well as commercially.

Faced with that reality, what choice does the BBC have if its going to make this content avaiable online in Britain and Britain only other than some from of rights management?

I'm all for the BBC coming up with a cross-platform solution but I don't think it's fair to hit it with the unfair charge of using DRM for DRM's sake when it's bending over backwards to make more content available to their customers (licence payers), on it's own initiative, without stepping on anybody else's toes in the process.

They're trying to be good guys here. Why blast them with both barrels over pipe dreams?

Re:It's not paranoia... (4, Insightful)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839113)

It's not paranoia, it's commercial sensitivity.

Fine, but they could achieve the same results by (1) refusing to serve the content to people outside the UK, (2) requiring a "licence-fee payer" login to download anything, and (3) limiting the range of programmes available online in order to satisfy the requirements of commercial co-producers. There's no need for DRM, especially as the BBC is already using a system to restrict some content to UK users only.

Now, there is an obvious objection to (1) and (2). Someone could download a programme in the UK, then put it on Bittorrent. But that's a silly objection, firstly because that same person could capture the programme from a TV broadcast, and secondly because that person could crack the DRM. Microsoft DRM is as vulnerable to attack as any other sort of DRM.

The use of DRM in this case is basically equivalent to saying "You can't watch BBC programmes without a Sky subscription". Sure, the delivery medium is the Internet not digital satellite, and the "Sky subscription" is a "Windows XP licence", but the effect is the same - you have to pay a third party in order to watch licence-fee funded programmes. We need an equivalent of "Freeview" that will work for anyone at no cost, but because Microsoft DRM is being used, the BBC has excluded that possibility.

Re:It's not paranoia... (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839243)

It seems to me that you're confusing the use of some form of DRM with the use of a form of DRM that's only available on a Windows platform.

A cross-platform solution is what we need: DRM and OS lock-in are two different issues and the real issue here is OS lock-in.

Re:It's not paranoia... (1)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839421)

A cross-platform solution is what we need: DRM and OS lock-in are two different issues and the real issue here is OS lock-in.

I see what you're saying. And I agree that if the player software could run on a free OS, then that would be the Internet equivalent of "Freeview" that I mentioned at the end of my post. Licence fee payers would have access to the programmes without a requirement to pay the Microsoft tax. That solution would seem satisfactory, if not ideal.

However, the use of DRM does limit viewers to the platforms that the BBC supports, and I do not think this is desirable.

Re:It's not paranoia... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839327)

You have just proved that they do need DRM.

Fine, but they could achieve the same results by (1) refusing to serve the content to people outside the UK, (2) requiring a "licence-fee payer" login to download anything, and (3) limiting the range of programmes available online in order to satisfy the requirements of commercial co-producers.
 
The only way to be sure of these points, is to use DRM. How else do you do it, ask the user before the video plays?

Re:It's not paranoia... (2, Interesting)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839573)

The only way to be sure of these points, is to use DRM. How else do you do it, ask the user before the video plays?

My post must have been unclear, please allow me to clarify.

(1) The BBC is already using a system that detects your country of origin based on your IP address. If you're not connecting from the UK, you can't get certain content from their website. This is implemented by a simple security check.

(2) The "licence-fee payer" login would be checked by a BBC server before files were served. Login schemes are already used by many websites, including this one. The technology is mature and very secure when properly implemented.

(3) Limiting the range of programmes available online is a job for the BBC webmasters, who have full control of the files available through their own servers. They can simply avoid uploading certain programmes. The BBC already uses this technique to limit on-demand access to certain radio programmes in order to comply with music licencing requirements.

None of these involve DRM. The security is all on the server side.

The point I am making is these achieve the same result as using Microsoft DRM (which can be bypassed in any case by off-air recording) with the result that access to BBC programmes can be platform-independent for all licence fee payers. Sorry if this is unclear, I am tired.

Re:It's not paranoia... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840211)

The only way to be sure of these points, is to use DRM.

No, the only way to be sure of these points is nothing. Why? Because DRM is mathematically-flawed snake oil anyway!

Trying to secure content the way the BBC wants is a lost cause. It always has been. The would would be a better place if media companies would simply realize that and move on!

Re:It's not paranoia... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840169)

They're trying to be good guys here.

Well, then they're failing miserably at it! "Good guys" don't use DRM. Period.

Re:It's all about drm (1)

fanningj (942469) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838703)

Are you referring to the videos on the Torchwood site, or the whole site. Apart from the videos I can view the site from Ireland fine.

Re:It's all about drm (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839021)

Yet when I wanted to watch the BSG webisodes I was told I wasn't in the US so I wasn't allowed to watch them, they were free as well! Typically the shows come out in the states before anyway else so you don't experience this but now you've tasted it, its crap isn't it, so much for the net being open to everyone, in reality its held to the whim of the networks and pre existing licensing deals. Oh well.

Re:It's all about drm (1)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839301)

The problem also refers to licensing of of content within BBC produced shows. For example, the BBC has a license to use any piece of music in there shows, except if used as a theme tune, for broadcast use. This does not extend to DVD releases. Therefore it can be argued that either DRM restricted or streamed media only available for a certain length of time counts as being broadcast and therefore covered. The same cannot be said for download to keep shows as can be seen my the differences between radio listen again and podcast versions of some radio shows.

The BBC does not have the financial resources to stream shows for the population in a watchable format (that is higher than the current streams for things like Wimbledon) and therefore is using a P2P based distribution system. The only way of complying with the license is therefore to use DRM and as has been stated there is no cross platform DRM solution currently available.

Pointless meeting given the go-ahead (4, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838419)

A forced meeting is going to produce no results. All it shows is the BBC unwillingness to solve the issues.

The only reason they're meeting is so that if this does go to the court they can claim they "tried to resolve the issues".

It's ironic... (4, Interesting)

bri2000 (931484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838439)

...that the BBC download system won't work on Macs given that every BBC technical bod I know (and I know quite a few through my sister and her husband who both work in post-production there) is a complete Mac obsessive.

Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19839777)

...high-end video compositing, rendering and realtime animation (the ugly weather report map) are done almost exclusively on linux machines.

It's like the situation with DVD playback under linux which now plays a key part in the film making process.

The entertainment industry is full of of whining arseholes, they're still going to be whining arseholes when technology leaves them behind. The BBC needs to embrace the future or stay in the past, there are no compromises here.

Re:It's ironic... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840487)

Creative types tend to be.. I probably know more mac owners than 'pc' owners.

Really surprised they didn't cut a deal with realaudio to add any missing features into their system rather than this windows
drm sillyness.

Licences are compulsay, shows should be avaliabe. (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838477)

Of course, and it has been said a number of times before (I'm just karma whoring :P), if the BBC don't develop a product that can be used on a number of different operating systems (and I don't mean just MS Windows XP and Vista...), then they are breaking their trust to the British public. The public (well most of them) pay a TV licence (which you have to pay if you have a TV capable of receiving the broadcasts, unless you can show that you don't use it for that) for access to the BBC. The BBC makes their programs available on the Internet for people allowed to watch them (i.e. people who paid (stupid English, why isn't that word "payed"?) up). If people can't watch the shows because they don't run MS Windows, then they are being ripped off! They miss out. Of course, people who don't even own a computer miss out as well, perhaps they should get a discount on their compulsory licence?

(Usual disclaimer, I'm not British, in fact, I've never even been there. I'm also not a lawyer, or a monkey.)

Re:Licences are compulsay, shows should be avaliab (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838567)

"advanced computing technology does not imply an endorsement of Western industrial civilization."

Don't kid yourself, it does.

Western industrial civilization created soe of the best things ever created by man. It has allowed us to build building that touch the sky, send a machine outside out solar system, and put men on the moon and got them home. More people have clean water, access to food, and medical care then ever in the history of mankind.

Greatest. Society. Ever.

Greatest != perfect

Re:Licences are compulsay, shows should be avaliab (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838687)

I'm an anarchist. I hate your civilisation, I want to destroy capitalism, states and all hierarchy.

My use of computers is an endorsement to a limited extent of technology, not "civilisation" (whatever that means...). See also my "blog" entry [revleft.com] over at RevLeft on subject of "civilisation".

Basically, I love clean green technology (though I know computers aren't great in that regard, but the concept is great), but I hate the system of government, capitalism and so on. I'm also not interested in discussing this here, head over to http://www.revleft.com/ [revleft.com] if you want to debate how capitalism is needed for technology (if you think it is), there are a few people who disagree.

Re:Licences are compulsay, shows should be avaliab (1)

hchaudh1 (963268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838763)

Maybe, or maybe let's look at it this way. Taking an example of the British. They pretty much stripped their colonies naked of resources, ended it all with nice partitions in India, Cyprus, Middle East etc., and I bet the British treasury still has tons of the wealth they looted.

Now, if you have tons of money, I won't think its very hard to some up with some tall buildings. Call me a cynic, or a troll.

Re:Licences are compulsay, shows should be avaliab (3, Insightful)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838699)

The logical consequence would be to require a license fee for every computer, then that way they could afford to support all the users...

Downloading programs in a way is a value added service that works beyond the TV. People complain already that they don't watch the BBC but they still have to pay the fee. Now, the fee is going to pay for even more stuff they don't use.

I think it is reasonable to go with the most cost effective solution that works for the vast majority of people to begin with. They can worry about expanding it later on when they see what the demand really is and get all the kinks worked out.

Re:Licences are compulsay, shows should be avaliab (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839401)

I don't have a licence (as I am not British). I am accustomed to paying for BBC content on a work-by-work basis. What would stop me and my OS from accessing this content without paying for it?

BBC R&D? (2, Insightful)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838667)

What ever happened to BBC research and development division? It seems the BBC do not innovate/invent in any way these days. BBC should come up with some sort of system that is open to all, and has some sort of DRM, not use a Microsoft product that is close to everyone apart from Windows XP users who use Internet Explorer.

It's not just he ~10% of none Windows users they are leaving out, but the other 20-25% that use alternative web browsers.

Bill and the Boys Had Words (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838819)

What ever happened to BBC research and development division? It seems the BBC do not innovate/invent in any way these days.

Bill had a word [bbc.co.uk] with them.

Re:BBC R&D? (3, Informative)

mormop (415983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839973)

The BBC flogged its technology services division off to Siemens. [bbc.co.uk] . As happened with the UK train system, as soon as it sold off into private hands it turned to shit. The BBC was originally set up with a public service ethic at its heart. Now that those in power have £ signs in their eyes you can kiss goodbye to that one.

It's all academic anyway... (3, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838685)

someone will crack the DRM and the content will be put up on torrents etc...

Re:It's all academic anyway... (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838731)

Wait, why would they wait until after the showed aired and rip a lossy video stream when they could (and already do) simply record the live broadcast and post that?

DRM has -never- stopped determined people, only delayed them a bit. This is no different. The only thing DRM does stop is the average joe. And that only until some enterprising hacker makes a name for himself by publishing the crack.

In this case, the only people being stopped are the few non-Brits that want to watch British TV and don't know what a torrent is.

Re:It's all academic anyway... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840443)

And that only until some enterprising hacker makes a name for himself by publishing the crack.

So at least we can say DRM is helping someone.

Re:It's all academic anyway... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838757)

someone will crack the DRM and the content will be put up on torrents etc..

Why bother? The content is already going to be available on torrents from off-air rips.

Re:It's all academic anyway... (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838913)

I know this will be an unpopular post, but it does irk me that any time DRM is mentioned somebody always resorts to "somebody will crack it anyway" and usually with a sense of fanboyism for piracy (although granted not seen in the parent post). At the end of the day there are cases where someone owns or has licensed content and they either desire or are legally required to make it available only under certain conditions. In a sense you have a group of people (the BBC in this case) trying to provide better access to content, albeit under some restrictions, and the rest of the world trying to crack it. Why do we think we have the right to do that? Just because we want the content? Just because we don't recognize the merits of DRM in any circumstance?

Note: I'm not trying to justify the BBC's use of DRM. I don't know what there reasons are for applying it, but I bet you don't either. This post is more along the lines of "why should we blatantly ignore and actively counteract the publishers wishes?". Yes, there are cases where you may have a legitimate claim for excersizing your rights - such as when you buy a DVD and want to move the content to a personal media server. If you don't pay a terrestrial license in the UK I'm not so sure such claims are valid in this case.

Bye bye karma, it was nice knowing you ;)

Re:It's all academic anyway... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840331)

it does irk me that any time DRM is mentioned somebody always resorts to "somebody will crack it anyway"

Why? All they're doing is stating a fact! The entire concept of DRM is fatally flawed, in that it simultaneously tries to provide and withold the content from the user. It should be obvious, even if you're not an expert in cryptography, that this is fundamentally, mathematically, impossible.

At the end of the day there are cases where someone owns or has licensed content and they either desire or are legally required to make it available only under certain conditions.

You may not like it, but "at the end of the day" there are only two choices:

  • change the conditions so that the content can be legally released without DRM, or
  • don't release it at all.

All other "possibilities" are contrary to the physical reality of the universe.

Re:It's all academic anyway... (1)

mormop (415983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840027)

Ultimately, you don't need to crack DRM. You can just video/DVD record it off the TV, push it into your PC via the SCART socket, turn it into a useful format and distribute it via Torrent. DRM is only a hinderance to people without a clue and can be easily overwhelmed using good old analogue recording. To anyone with half a brain it's a small obstacle while DRM is an expensive waste of money, time and CPU cycles.

Who is the TRUST? (0, Offtopic)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838719)

What with the Windows only crap. The article just got /.

Tag? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838759)

Whoever tagged this put "rupertmurdoch", who has nothing to do with the BBC. One of his companies, BSkyB, already has a on-demand service that uses Microsoft's DRM. Channel 4 also use Microsoft DRM.

I wonder why the OSC hasn't hit them also. Or is this strictly BBC because it breaks their Royal Charter?

Re:Tag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838835)

Or is this strictly BBC because it breaks their Royal Charter?

You've got it in one. I guess it was tagged "rupertmurdoch" because he's the first one to whine if the BBC does anything. At all.

When I am supreme ruler I shall make it illegal to be Rupert Murdoch.

Re:Tag? (1)

twenex27 (1004369) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839195)

Yes. In other words, their remit is to serve the public (and in case you didn't know, BBC content within Britain is not funded by commercials but by a fee that's compulsory IF you own a tv). The only remit any of the other broadcasters have in Britain is (a) to make money; (b) to not breach any of the "lesser" regulations (such as no blood and guts when children's tv is broadcast).

BBC reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838807)

The BBC doesn't seem to be reporting this -- perhaps
interested UK license-payers could submit the story to

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/your_news /6719867.stm [bbc.co.uk]

I may not be interpreting this correctly.... (1)

Wookietim (1092481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838821)

But in all honesty, why should the BBC be forced to support more open source? Shouldn't supporting open source be a choice rather than a forced rule?

Re:I may not be interpreting this correctly.... (1)

ThomsonsPier (988872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838889)

But in all honesty, why should the BBC be forced to support more open source? Shouldn't supporting open source be a choice rather than a forced rule?

Why should the British public be forced to pay a licence fee to watch channels other than the BBC? Shouldn't paying for the BBC be a choice rather than a forced rule?

Re:I may not be interpreting this correctly.... (1)

Wookietim (1092481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839043)

No argument there..... Of course, if person A develops a piece of code, why should person B (Who provided no assistance during the programs development and as a matter of fact didn't even provide any suggestions for it) whine about it?

Re:I may not be interpreting this correctly.... (1)

bigboard (463204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839209)

Because in this case, person B paid for the development through a compulsory licence fee.

Re:I may not be interpreting this correctly.... (1)

Wookietim (1092481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839269)

I can get that. So, how would using open source benefit the users? I am asking in all seriousness here - please explain to me how it would benefit the users.... Is the market share of Windows in Europe much lower than in the US?

Why make the Radio content subject to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838825)

Hi:

I don't own a television but I do love BBC Radio. The IPlayer will mean I cannot catch up on radio shows. While I have no love for Real Audio, there must have been another solution than Windows which has always had a flavour-of-the-week development method for media. Were it not for the lack of a good Quicktime streaming codec, I'd suggest QT, but what else can be suggested for audio? MP4?

Re:Why make the Radio content subject to this (2, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838885)

That's why we have MP4, so you can strap DRM onto the content, and make it cross platform.

Microsoft may be the "flavour-of-the-week" as they break every anti-trust, competition and price fixing laws and offer these large corporations incentives elsewhere. Makes you wonder.

Thanks a bunch Rupert (4, Insightful)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838845)

For those not aware of how British politics works: Blair (and now Brown's) government both follow what is known as the 'tabloid agenda [blogs.com] ', the most read tabloid in the world is 'The Sun [thesun.co.uk] ' this is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Heads of the Labour government regularly meet with Rupert Murdoch, in fact Murdoch was known as the hidden member [guardian.co.uk] of Tony Blair's government. Don't think Brown is any better though: an interview [bbc.co.uk] (sadly I think that's been taken off-air so you'll have to trust me) with the editor of The Sun revealed that Rupert Murdoch often used to joke about having to visit both Number 10 and Number 11 whenever he was in the UK.

As the BBC is competition to Murdoch he would like to see it shutdown. This is natural. Unfortunately for him the BBC is not controlled by the government, but the BBC Trust is. So when the government comes out with weird statements like:

there is evidence that certain aspects of the proposals may have a negative effect on investment in similar commercial services which would not be in the long-term public interest.

It's pretty obvious to me who's behind the complaints. The people--whom the government are supposed to serve--just want the BBC to be the best it can be, and if private media can't keep up? Then it shouldn't be in business! Particularly when considering how these words are touting 'public interest' then enforcing the use of DRM? Public interest my arse. In the words of Hugo Swire (shadow culture secetary):

We're going to have to see if this trust has teeth and the iPlayer is the test... There are companies who feel threatened by the BBC.

So as usual, it's all big company interests. I somehow doubt that the BBC Trust will listen to the Open Source Consortium. Not that I think they shouldn't try, however it's unlikely they'll be able to remove their heads from Rupert Murdoch's arsehole long enough to listen. :)

Re:Thanks a bunch Rupert (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19839355)

"there is evidence that certain aspects of the proposals may have a negative effect on investment in similar commercial services which would not be in the long-term public interest."
 
Is it only me, or are other people picturing Sir Humphrey Appleby saying that sentence?

Re:Thanks a bunch Rupert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19839841)

Yes! Now I think about it that sounds just like him! :)

Here's an idea that could make them money... (5, Interesting)

dduardo (592868) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838921)

Here's an idea that could make them them money and make us happier:

Why don't they use a flash based video player like NBC, ABC, etc.

If they detect that you are from the UK they show you the videos WITHOUT ADs. If you are outside the UK they show you the videos WITH ADs based on your country of origin.

Everyone gets to watch their content and they makes more money though AD revenue. A win-win in my book.

A perfect example.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19839475)

.. of why the tagging system is broken. Rupert Murdoch has absolutely nothing to do with the BBC.

Fixed (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839909)

Rupert Murdoch has absolutely everything to do with the BBC.

There fixed. Read my post above, this has everything to do with Rupert Murdoch and other companies putting pressure upon the British government to stop the BBC providing a good on line service. The Shadow Culture Secretary confirmed this.

Siemens outsourcing of BBC Technology (3, Informative)

paj1234 (234750) | more than 7 years ago | (#19839653)

Has this got anything to do with the BBC's two-billion-GBP computer outsourcing deal with Siemens? Way back in 1999 the BBC had its own Linux-savvy wizards who did a fantastic job on the BBC website and other tasks:

http://linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reports/1176/1/ [linuxplanet.com]

I'd like to thank them for making sure the BBC's watch/listen pages work on my GNU/Linux/Mozilla/Realplayer computer at home. Now, it's all gone to Siemens, apparently:

http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2004/10/01/ 205660/bbc-completes-2bn-outsourcing-deal-with-sie mens.htm [computerweekly.com]

Anyone inside BBC or Siemens care to comment?

Re:Siemens outsourcing of BBC Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19840067)

This is what happens in every industry. Talented and knowledgeable staff tend to be disinterested in towing the line, eccentric and kooky. So they are replaced with cheap labor by clueless management, resulting in what we now call "the Vista experience".

An argument we must win. (1)

afc_wimbledon (1052878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19840473)

If organisations like the BBC are allowed to get away with adding restrictions like this to media that is free when broadcast in other ways, and is paid for via a compulsory licence, is it reasonable to expect the purely commercial organisations like Sony and the like to be more flexible on DRM? It ought to be possible to get the BBC to back down on DRM, even if that means some "bought in" content has to be skipped. On the basis of their charter if nothing else. This argument needs to be won, to avoid a future with even more DRM all over the place.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?