BBC's download iPlayer goes titsup
Updated Official BBC iPlayer downloads are out of action today because of a failure in one of the system's back end databases.
Reg readers who use the Windows-only desktop application noticed performace problems earlier this week. Now the whole system, which is based on Verisign's Kontiki peer-to-peer distribution platform, has been taken offline.
Where an option would normally offer a download for each show, the iPlayer site now simply reads: "Sorry, downloads are not available."
Auntie sent us this statement:
Downloads are currently unavailable on BBC iPlayer. This is due to a technical failure in one of our databases that administers the peer-to-peer network supporting BBC iPlayer. We are working with our partners to reinstate downloads as soon as possible.
A spokesman confirmed Kontiki is to blame and said there was no indication of when a fix will be found.
The glitch caps a bad week for the BBC's push into TV downloads, but the spokesman said this latest hiccup is nothing to do with the current battle with hackers over DRM-free downloads via iPhone streams.
It's emerged that hackers across all operating systems are merrily grabbing high quality DRM-free downloads from the H.264 streams recently launched for iPhone and iPod Touch owners. The BBC swiftly moved to close the loophole, fearing the wrath of rights holders.
Of course, that fix was broken in a matter of hours and iPlayer developers look set to enter an unproductive arms race that neither they nor the viewers want. ®
The service is back up, for now. The Beeb said to expect intermittent downtime while engineers do testing.
"..... spoofing the user agent would almost certainly be found to be circumventing technical protection methods under UK law if it ever went to court"
No it wouldn't.
Non-obvious delimitation of boundaries is at least a defence to trespass, and under certain circumstances may even open you up to criminal liability for creating a mantrap.
If the so-called "technological protection method" is as christian as just checking a User-agent: header -- modern web browsers *explicitly support* changing this, and readily-available programmers' libraries make it easy to write programs having some of the functionality of a web browser *including* sending a User-agent: header of the programmer's choosing -- then it can't be reasonably expected to work.
YTS guys working the web?
The mighty Beeb's website seems to be suffering from quality issues of late.
404s are a more common sight thesedays, and today their email confirmation page (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3042292.stm) is in the 'Most Read' and 'Most Emailed' list.
RE: Content owners have to get realistic
"A comment above mentions the 800-900 per year license fee if material wasn't DRMs -- clearly an OTT to try to illustrate a point. The point is that content is only valuable if you can sell it."
No... actually it was a very conservative estimate. That assumes the BBC's rights costs for buying out all rights averaging out five times what they do now, and I suspect it would be nearer ten in practicality.
Rights holders can sell it without any television period - one of the major rights holders are the music labels, who sell their music just fine. Same with Corbis. Same with book publishers (most BBC dramas are book options).
There are plenty of other broadcasters too. People assume content agregators have much more vast market power than they ever do.