Free Culture

Today the BBC made it official — they have been corrupted by Microsoft.

Today the BBC made it official — they have been corrupted by Microsoft.With today’s launch of the iPlayer, the BBC Trust has failed in its most basic of duties and handed over to Microsoft sole control of the on-line distribution of BBC programming. From today, you will need to own a Microsoft operating system to view BBC programming on the web.****** *******Please Digg: Reddit:, if you’re in the North of England and would be interested ina potential protest at BBC Manchester on the same day, please considering joining ‘Manchester Free Software’. As you may know, theBBC is soon to move large amounts of its London operations to Manchester and Salford. you’re a British citizen or resident, you can also sign this petition:- can also leave comments about the service, and demand a service that works on free software systems, such as GNU/Linux, on the BBC iPlayer Messageboard –

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5 replies on “Today the BBC made it official — they have been corrupted by Microsoft.”

No, go blame OFCOM. The MS implentation is in line with the legal framework established by the 2003 Comms Act – as defined by OFCOM.
When the rights were handed back to production companies, all broadcasters had to take steps to prevent ‘piracy’ of 3rd party media. DRM is perfect for solving this ‘commercial’ decision.
How much tax does the UK Gov collect on the back of TV production? This short termist protection racket has begun the seizure of commercial broadcasting – and the BBC is commercial in this respect.
As with any form of prohibition, the culture seeps to spaces of freedom. Thus it’s clear that there is no one in OFCOM or UK Gov who understand (or cares about) the economics of media design, production and distribution. If they did, they would be have seen the obvious drift to branded media purposely crafted for free networks – such as WRTJ.
As we enter the closing chapters of broadcast media, watch how production companies get busy with anything but broadcasting. Entertainment is about to get a lot more interesting – linear delivery channels will account for a smaller percentage of audience time.
Inverse to Fahrenheit 451, the transference of stories will be because of the industries dissolution of Television, not it’s ubiquity.

I got a bit annoyed by a reply to this post over at facebook. Here’s the undiluted pissed-off-ness as it came out:
“Paul wrote:
‘I think (and it’s nothing to do with me so I don’t actually know for sure) that the BBC would probably quite like to provide DRM free downloads, but is presently unable to negotiate the terms with all those third parties that it would need.’
The BBC are in an absolutely, totally, mandated-by-the-fricking-law!-ly *unique* position of not being beholden to shareholders and other short-sighted “can’t be last to market” morons. If, in this position, they are unable or unwilling to either negotiate with those people who *will* talk or to wait out those who aren’t, then WTF ARE they doing to justify the millions of pounds we pay them? I’m asking here in the only medium I actually care about – online. It’s certainly not enough to push out another hideously proprietary (though, fortunately, not DRM’d) format via a formerly half-decent site – the BBC Radio Player. Come to think of it, didn’t that “break” at a rather convenient time for the iPlayer PR push? And isn’t it STILL completely screwed? Funny, that …
If the answer is “no, we simply have to follow the crowd and get our content out there now! Now! Hard! Fast!! YES!!! IPLAYER!!!!” …well then, why not just “partner” with some other DRM also-ran and push your content out that way? You’ll *still* fail to keep it off the non-DRM P2P systems, usenet and the web while adhering to the BBC Trust’s load-of-tosh rules, but won’t cost us, the taxpayer, the same amount of money that it will to try and keep an non-commercial online entity alive in the face of media organisations that will simply lower the (apparent) consumer cost of the media they consume, while preparing to tighten the DRM noose the very *second* they achieve any market traction.
In short, BBC, the iPlayer *concept* sucks. I don’t give two hoots about the technology behind it, as it will fail. I really should go through the annoying process of legally rendering my TV incapable of anything other than DVD playback so I can stop paying the previously-almost-valid TV license and avoid having my money injected into awful schemes like this one.”

The BBC is probably one of the few businesses in Europe that unlike many others does not need to rely upon copyright (preventing a free market in copies) for its revenue.
One should compute how much revenue the BBC gets from sales of its programmes overseas (excluding commissions), and how much the licence fee would have to increase to provide this revenue instead, because that would then remove any residual argument against making all BBC publications and broadcasts copyleft.
Even without that, licence payers should still be given the option to download any BBC programme in its original digital format via a free BBC provided BitTorrent service. After all, they’re already licensees aren’t they?
When did someone realise that licence payers could be redefined as strictly ‘viewers only’, not to be permitted to get their grubby paws on any of the actual recordings they’d funded in case they might adapt them, or something wicked like that…
“Erm, cos we can then make more money out of them by charging them twice?”

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