Ofcom opens debate on Freeview HD DRM to punters
The BBC wants it - do you?
Ofcom has begun asking the public whether the BBC should be allowed to apply DRM to Freeview HD broadcasts.
"This technology," the telecoms and broadcasting regulator said, "would enable broadcasters to control the copying of content from high-definition receivers to other consumer devices and its distribution to others over the internet."
Under law, Ofcom has a tighter grip on terrestrially broadcast digital TV than it has on other transmission modes, and it's this that prevents the BBC simply imposing DRM on viewers. Instead, the Corporation has to ask Ofcom for an amendment to the licence it holds enabling it to broadcast on the Freeview multiplexes.
Ofcom, in turn, has to assess whether such a change would prevent UK citizens gaining "access to the widest possible range of HD television content" on digital terrestrial telly while "not unduly restricting their use of this content and the range of receiver equipment available in the market".
The BBC wants Ofcom to allow it to restrict the availability of programme listing information for HD TV services only to receivers that implement DRM.
So if your set-top box doesn't support the BBC's preferred DRM technology, you won't get to see BBC channels on your Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and use it schedule recordings - if the Corporation gets its way.
Right now, the BBC has but one HD channel, but its request looks forward to the day when more, if not all, of its channels are beam out in HD.
Its pitch is that without DRM, Freeview HD will not feature as much HD content as other platforms will be able to offer because rights holders won't sanction broadcast the material that can then be copied at will and posted on the internet.
The BBC insists its approach to DRM won't prevent programmes being recorded on DVR, but may prevent programmes that have been copied off those boxes being played back on other devices. That would certainly hinder Torrenters.
So that it doesn't also prevent users from copying a recording to a more convenient playback device - a portable player, say - the BBC said a single copy should be permitted. But that surely also requires such devices to support DRM, or to stop the 'legal' copy ending up on the net. Different playback devices use different DRM schemes, so set-top box makers would need to ensure that all are supported or risk alienating, say, everyone who owns an iPod.
And that's no help to families, who might very well - and quite reasonably - want to copy a single recording onto many family members' devices.
The BBC insisted that the "majority" of its HD content would be DRM-free and that it would limit DRM to programming only otherwise available in paid-for forms - sourced from overseas pay-TV channels, for example, or available on DVD/Blu-ray.
However, we'd note that while it may follow such a plan now, nothing in its proposal would prevent it simply applying DRM to everything at any point in the future.
Ofcom said it is "minded" to accept the BBC's proposal, but noted that this is subject to public consultation.
You can respond to Ofcom's consultation here. ®
Freeview HD your questions answered
They can DRM the lot, scramble it and issue you a card when/if you pay your TV license (which I don't).
I will then have the CHOICE to not have TV license and won't be harassed about it.
There is nothing on the telly...
The answer to this question is the same as...
...the answer to this one:
"Should we scrap the TV licence and adopt a subscription-based revenue model for the BBC?"
If they want DRM, they had better be prepared to go out and sing for their supper. Otherwise, they can forget it.
Free to air
Freeview is free to air, it's in the name.
BBC is paid for by me and you, we already paid to have this content thanks.
DRM it at your peril BBC since this goes right against the concept of free to the public content, who can do what they like with it, and if you feel you should DRM it, maybe you sholdn't be thinking of transmitting it in the first place.
And using the premise that it might get onto the internet is weak in extremis, is that the best argument you can come up with. If so, fail.
I repeat, we paid our licence fee to have this content.
Oh and while you're there, what's all this shit with iPlayer stuff not lasting more than a month.
I wouldn't worry
I wouldn't worry about the BBC DRM'ing stuff. They are stuffed the moment Jeremy Hunt becomes Culture Secretary. This is a man who is in the pockets of the local media companies and who fully intends to ensure the BBC is no threat to his mates in the commercial sector. I've been following his comments and speeches quite closely over the past year and he appears to be singing from the Murdoch hymn sheet. He'll do to the BBC what Thatcher did too ITV with the 1990 Broadcasting Act.
And who did "Call Me Dave" used to work for? Oh yes, Cartlon Television, that bastion of quality ITV broadcasting.
I don't have any time for Labour either. They've royally fucked up commercial radio in this country by deregulating whenever the shareholders demand it and the DAB situation is laughable.
I really now have no idea who to vote for in the next election so I suspect I just won't.
Missing a lot of points
"Without the DRM (which is currently inplace on this recording) I would be able to move this recording around my network, stick it on my phone, burn it to disk and share with friends, rightly or wrongly."
That's exactly what I expect to be able and *have right* to do with information that has been *publicly* broadcast. If you don't want you information to be circulated - don't broadcast it in the first place.
"The HD/Bluray version of the Incredibles is not yet available in this country."
Exactly - who stops the studios from releasing the films earlier? Do they have a God-given right to create artificial scarceness of their product to manipulate the market and gouge you as a consumer? No. They only have a limited monopoly on reproduction for commercial purposes against which they have implicitly promised to the public to behave responsible. They have broken that promise.
"its about protecting the sales of BBC HD content in other countries. We have paid for the production of these titles so the BBC are looking after our interests in terms of trying to protect their copyright."
Precisely, we have paid BBC to produce that content FOR US, NOT FOR OTHER COUNTRIES. I am not going to give up my rights and convenience to subsidize someone's commercial ambitions, especially, when I am not even invited to get a share! My licence costs the same whether BBC sold a bit of DVDs in China or not. This activity is done by a special division of BBC which has nothing to do with public services.