The BBC has specifically mentioned which utility to use to strip DRM from their downloads anyway:
The BBC has swooped to close a loophole in its recently-launched iPhone streaming service that allowed Linux, Windows and Mac users to grab a high quality DRM-free download. We reported the hack yesterday morning, but today an email from Auntie assures us the party's over: "We've released a fix to prevent unrestricted …
They put all the episodes up on day one, and they could be downloaded simply by making your own page of links and incrementing one number per link.
Ah yes, great security.
For me this removed the worry of missing an episode, since I was due to be away for one week of the show. Didn't stop me buying the CD version the day it came out though.
"The BBC played the beta card yesterday, telling it was aware of the hack, that it was "nothing unusual", and it was already working to block it. The contracts with third party production companies that allow the national broadcaster to offer downloads insist that DRM that locks the files down after 30 days is part of the package."
Doesn't the H264 stream service already break these contracts in any case - how do they expect to control what happens? A stream is just a download which isn't stored. Let alone a stream in a standard format which only needs to be saved and can then be easily played back without needing to re-encode or modify the container format.
People are only interested in hacking around because this is the kind of service they want, not that horrible kontiki rubbish. The flash streams look terrible plus adobe has awful support for anything other than macOS or windows.
If they need to have DRM (I'm a realist - these things may be necessary temporarily) then they should be helping to define an open system which would allow desktop and mobile (and set-top) clients to be written.
This proprietary crap is never going to support everything - people only work on it if they get paid, they only get paid if there's a demand, there's only enough demand to justify development if the device is vastly popular. Unfortunately, lots of software seems to cost more to develop than it's notionally worth by orders of magnitude. See how much freeware/open source there is around which could never generate enough income for the primary developers to support themselves doing only that. Even open source has to fall back on support contracts and integration work to make the ends meet.
If the BBC want to see their content available to the public (as they are supposed to) then they should be working on an open spec for 3rd party apps to interface with - Google understands this, hence the recent release of the YouTube APIs.
Why fix what wasn't broken? They had DRM, it was restricted to UK only IP addresses, that was the only DRM needed and it worked fine. It's the *extra* *crappy* *Microsoft* DRM that causes all the problems. It has never worked anyway, and just makes it difficult to play on all sorts of non Microsoft devices. Largely because Microsoft refuses to disclose how it works doing it's usual attempt at platform lockin.
Sure UK Linux users could play the files, but then UK Linux users also pay the TV license. So what's the problem with that?
Look at it this way, they delivered it in a standard format, Linux users put together a player within a few days. So set top boxes, and UK Tivos and games consoles and networked video players would all be able to play that content, and just like the Linux guys could add support very very quickly.
This is exactly what the BBC wants!
The IP address restriction is all the DRM they need. It restricts the digital rights to the UK IP addresses without restricting it to Microsoft computers only, which is exactly what is required.
Ditch the *Microsoft* DRM, keep the IP address verification DRM.
It's clearly time for the BBC to rewrite its contracts. Where it pays for the full cost of production, then it should insist on retaining the right to make the content available free of charge to license-payers in perpetuity. Obviously, the situation is more complex where it is only buying one-off broadcast rights that do not cover the full production costs.
Why bother indeed.
If I had time (I don't, but someone else might) I'd write an application which simply records all the outputs to a monitor/speakers.
Easy to do, and lots of legal uses, so it's not specifically anti-DRM technology (the banning of which was a spectacularly stupid idea anyway - but Governments simply don't understand IT, so I wasn't too surprised).
DRM is dead.
If they don't want to explain how they've fixed it, then it likely means they haven't fixed it in any meaningful way. Expect this story to come around again in a week or so.
Let's face it, if the DRM-free content is available at all to iPhone disciples, then it should be fairly easy for the l33t crowd to figure it out. Probably only needs a packet sniffer and a small amount of clue.
- Its not like they have revenue generating advert contracts to protect ..
- Have they ever heard of Digital TV recorders
- Why wouldnt they want people to save and watch their shows more than once
- WHY is every single insititution on this planet fighting against new technologies rather than embracing them ?
- have they not heard of tv-links.cc ?
The main difference between the current set of scripts and the ones that allowed me to wget stuff last week is that a random number (from Math.random *1000000) is appended to the URL.
Anybody got any comment on the ip-restriction workaround that's currently operated by at least one 'company' in the UK?
Auntie currently restricts streaming to the UK by (I think) ip address blocking. However, one guy/gal/company provides a vpn to a UK ip address specifically so non-doms can stream Auntie's draws to locations outside the UK.
Isn't this a bigger revenue loss for Auntie than the hack in the story? (Particularly given the amount this 'company' charges to use their tunnel.)
My guess would be that they've just restricted the IP range that can access the iPlayer streams to the blocks that O2 in the UK use.
Obviously, this would stop an iPhone connected with wi-fi from receiving the video so should be pretty easy to test if any El Reg readers own an iPhone of course!
AC as even talk of this sort of thing is probably illegal now!
Looking at the code http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/script/1.7/iplayer_info.js
This seems to do the security (A new version was uploaded this morning according to the modified headers)
http requests are pretty simple things and send very limited information. If its securing on something sent over a http get request it will only take someone with an iphone and a bit of knowledge to look at what is being sent and replicating it.
By the evenings out it will be bust wide open agian?
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I hate that they bother (I downloaded things using the loophole myself), but the reason they bother is obvious - they legally have to. The contracts they have say that they will ensure that any content released online is secure, and only available for 7 days of streaming, 30 days for download. If they don't keep to those conditions, they'll liable to get sued.
That said, I'd be surprised if we don't see a hack out within a few days. It's only a matter of packet sniffing what the iPhone does and repeating it from a PC. Perhaps quicktime sends a special header to the server from the iPhone...
Two layers of DRM:
Layer 1 - IP DRM, restricts delivery to only UK IP addresses
Layer 2 - Microsoft DRM, restruct delivery to Microsoft devices
Tell me, what is the purpose of the second layer?
Layer 1, fine, BBC is only allowed to deliver content to UK for some programs (although their excellent Radio 4 iPlayer works well everywhere).
Layer 2, since when was there a remit to restrict it to Microsoft? BBCs entire problem stems from this layer, they can get their necessary Digital Rights Management by limiting it to UK IP addresses. So what gives with the Microsoft nonsense?
I've got a rough idea what's going on. To help my quest this time, I have a genuine iPhone a few feet away and will make it connect through an HTTP proxy. And this technique will beat the BBC's best efforts until they force both of the iPhone owners that use the service to download iKontiki once the SDK's released.
Honestly, they could do it right, or they could do it the BBC way.
Wine only works on 80x86-like architectures (and possibly AMD64 -- but once you have put one of those processors into 64-bit mode, and the Linux kernel *does*, some of the 32-bit mode instructions become unavailable). Not everyone running Linux or Solaris is doing so on an x86 platform.
"Why fix what wasn't broken? They had DRM, it was restricted to UK only IP addresses, that was the only DRM needed and it worked fine."
This isn't the only DRM that's needed - the BBC needs to ensure that downloads aren't kept for more than 30 days.
"It's the *extra* *crappy* *Microsoft* DRM that causes all the problems. It has never worked anyway, and just makes it difficult to play on all sorts of non Microsoft devices. Largely because Microsoft refuses to disclose how it works doing it's usual attempt at platform lockin."
Microsoft's DRM may be crappy but it's the only way the BBC can ensure its digital rights commitments are met
"Sure UK Linux users could play the files, but then UK Linux users also pay the TV license. So what's the problem with that?"
The problem was that people could keep the downloads and share them around the world. Being a license payer does not entitle you to take DVDs from the BBC Shop and send copies of them to your mates - exactly what people were effectively doing with the iPhone hack.
"Look at it this way, they delivered it in a standard format, Linux users put together a player within a few days. So set top boxes, and UK Tivos and games consoles and networked video players would all be able to play that content, and just like the Linux guys could add support very very quickly.
"This is exactly what the BBC wants!"
And they're working on it. The BBC's said all along that it wants to be on as many formats as possible. It's rolling iPlayer out as fast as technology and resources will allow.
"The IP address restriction is all the DRM they need. It restricts the digital rights to the UK IP addresses without restricting it to Microsoft computers only, which is exactly what is required.
"Ditch the *Microsoft* DRM, keep the IP address verification DRM."
See above. Simple IP restrictions aren't sufficient.
And finally, will people stop whining that they've paid their TV license so are entitled to walk into the BBC archives and take what they want. The TV license does not pay enough for the BBC to pay production companies to hand over all rights to content and paste it up for free. Given that most BBC output is now made by independent producers (at the Government's request) I cannot ever see the BBC simply giving away stuff to everyone. The iPlayer service is fantastic and comes at no extra cost to license payers. Why the hell can't people just be satisfied with the excellent service they're getting instead of constantly whining that they're not being given something for nothing?
The thing is the BBC don't own ALL the copyright to (more or less) any of their TV programmes.
The BBC buy the rights to show it on TV a certain number of times and have an agreement that lets them make it available for up to seven days online but their deal doesn't extend beyond that.
Basically for every TV show every piece of music played has several rights holder, the writer retains rights, the actors all retain the right to claim repeat fees - even conductors on musical score retain certain rights.
None of those groups would let the BBC offer any TV show without DRM as offering it without DRM is the same as offering it forever and that would reduce the fees they get for DVD sales.
The IP restriction is there to stop people outside the UK using the iPlayer - in the same way FOX, Disney, NBC, ABC et al stop me using their on demand services over here - it's not directly anything to do with rights.
I agree that the BBC would be better to create their own open source DRM solution that would work cross platform - maybe they could work with ITV and Channel 4 to create one all UK broadcasters can use?
I've been accused of uninformed comment myself in the past but this topic really takes the biscuit.
1. This is NOT a case of Linux users creating a hack to view iPlayer, poor, deprived dears. ANYBODY in UK with Flash on ANY browser on ANY OS can view the iPlayer streams. (I've just been watching the second "Ten Days to War" using the Flash plugin in Firefox under Ubuntu fer Chrissakes.) Devices *without* a suitable implementation of Flash include games consoles and Apple mobile devices.
2. There is no Microsoft-only conspiracy. These are the STREAMS we're talking about, not the DRM'd DOWNLOADS.
3. The hack described yesterday involved saving the streams to files that weren't time-limited, thereby effectively turning a STREAM into an un-DRM'd DOWNLOAD.
Programs from suppliers that have the 30 day limit in their contract can continue to be made available in DRM only form. Likewise if the supplier want any other restriction on it that requires DRM.
Up to them if they want to restrict their content to a subset of viewers.
However if they don't need that limit the content shouldn't have that limit, there's simply no reason for the BBC to enforce *extra* limits beyond their normal 'UK only' of their remit.
I also don't see why they should implement their own players when it's clear as day that when they made the content in an known open format a player was made almost immediately. The set top box makers, network media player makers etc. can implement the code damn quickly.
The only thing currently stopping them supporting the Beeb content is Microsoft's DRM lockin.
Everyone who complains about DRM please remember why it's there. There is such a thing as copyright.
If you create something (write a book, develop software, record a song, produce a film or TV show) this involves significant effort and often considerable expense and it's not unreasonable that the law lets you protect that investment and control how and where your creation is used.
Just because computers and hard disks and DVD burners make it *easy* to copy something doesn't make it legally or morally right to do so. Just because we've all gotten so used to being able to copy things easily that we find DRM-protected files to be a nuisance doesn't mean they're wrong. Just because it's easy to break DRM doesn't mean we should criticise content owners from trying. Indeed, often people like the BBC or Apple or whoever have no choice - in order to be allowed to distribute someone else's copyright-protected content they are legally obliged to take all steps they can to prevent unauthorised use.
Yes, of course the BBC and other broadcasters have heard of PVRs. And as long as you just use them to timeshift programmes for your own use I'm sure they don't mind at all - they do want you to watch their programmes. But if you keep files indefinitely and watch them again and again instead of buying the DVD, or send them off to other people round the world so they don't watch them on their local TV station and the BBC earns fees from the distribution rights, then they suffer a direct financial loss, which translates to less money to pay writers and actors and make new programmes.
If you're happy that our airwaves are full of cheap crap rather than quality drama then fine, just carry on using clever little utilities to strip off DRM when you find it and sharing them over the torrents, and you'll have your way.
"ANYBODY in UK with Flash on ANY browser on ANY OS can view the iPlayer streams."
Could you tell me how I do it on Linux on AMD64, or Sparc64, or PowerPC then? Hint, there is no Adobe Flash plugins on these platforms.
I *could* view the streams on all these platforms yesterday using the iPhone hack, pity it's gone.
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Why bother making the iPlayer available on the iPhone anyway. The reason the BBC haven’t made a Linux version is because Linux is unpopular, so is the iPhone. This doesn't seem like good use of the licence payer’s money to me. Developing a client for Symbian or Windows Mobile would be a much better option, or even some sort of Java client.
The only two things I can see are either a different outcome from the math.random function on the iPhone or + availableStreams.pid + (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/script/1.7/iplayer_info.js also) is generated differently somehow. Not being a Java programmer or owning an iPhone, I can't tell though. When I look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b00936r3.shtml?src=ip_mlt I get the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/3/auth/iplayer_streaming_http_mp4/b009hdr4?431410 generated when masquerading as an iPhone. Anyone with an iPhone like to see if something different appears?
The web browser probably has its own random number generator rather than using the system one. Other than that, your idea certainly has legs.
Safari is based on the KHTML rendering engine, which is also used in Konqueror. By mucking about creating an extra file in /usr/share/services/useragentstrings/ (on Debian, so maybe also on Kubuntu; other distros may use different paths) and restarting X, I was able to persuade Konqueror to do something ..... It didn't play the video, but that's most probably just a misconfiguration my end. At least the BBC seem to think my Konqueror is an iPhone now .....
Of course I realise it would be simpler just to put the programmes in my Sky Plus Planner; but if I wanted to do things the easy way, I'd just buy an iPhone!
The problem is that if you are running a 64-bit system, you have to have 32-bit libraries installed somewhere in your path in order to be able to run software compiled by other people. And the 32-bit libraries ordinarily have the same filenames as the 64-bit libraries.
Also, there are some instructions that are not available once the processor has been switched into 64-bit mode (which 64-bit Linux does; but 32-bit Linux and Windows don't).
If someone wanted to badly enough, they could run Firefox on a Sinclair Spectrum, Cray 3, or CNC milling machine. It'd be hard work, but it'd be possible, because the Source Code for Firefox is available for anyone who wants it.
Adobe, however, will not release the Source Code for the Flash player; despite the fact that they give away binaries for certain, selected platforms gratis and therefore would have nothing to lose by giving away the Source Code.
There has been some amazing progress made with GNASH, but it's still a bit like trying to learn to speak French by sitting in a café in Paris, listening to what people ask for and watching what they get given. This has to change: food manufacturers are obliged by law to print ingredients lists (and with good reason: search for food adulteration), so why aren't software vendors obliged by law to supply Source Code?
.... and perhaps or perhaps not related, I've discovered, this morning, that attempting to view video on the BBC News website in firefox now causes the message "additional plugins are required to display all the media on this page." to be displayed. Clicking "Install missing plugins" sends you to a firefox dialogue allowing you to install windows media player 11.
Note that the video still actually works, without installing this version, but this message is new for me.
See for example, the current footage, of an incident involving yet another highly competent terrorist, featured on the front page.
A clue for geeky readers, who should head over to this page http://developer.apple.com/internet/safari/faq.html in desktop Safari, mobile safari, desktop safari masquerading as mobile safari (via debug menu in osx safari 3), ffox, and ffox masquerading as mobile safari: Various navigator.* (e.g. navigator.appname and navigator.platform) properties are unique to mobile safari.
There's also the small matter of wget's --referer= and --load-cookies options.
No doubt somebody will have this defeated in the next few hours.
"If I had time (I don't, but someone else might) I'd write an application which simply records all the outputs to a monitor/speakers."
It already exists. Actually, several already exist. Camtasia Studio is the first one that comes to mine (free version here http://download.techsmith.com/camtasiastudio/enu/312/camtasiaf.exe which is version 3.12).
It's called Freeview and any number of DVR's will record this high quality MPEG2 steam. It is then just a matter of transferring the file (e.g. Twinrip) and off to the P2P bypass all the BBC's copyright 'issues'. DRM is just there to make the average users life more difficult it has and will never protect the content from unauthorized distribution (its not illegal!).
"This has to change: food manufacturers are obliged by law to print ingredients lists (and with good reason: search for food adulteration), so why aren't software vendors obliged by law to supply Source Code?"
They have to print a list of ingredients, but not the complete recipe - neither the amount of each ingredient nor how everything is processed has to be disclosed. So the most you could, by this analogy, ask from software vendors, is what language and libraries they used...
I thought there was a EU directive which forbid the prevention of one state's citizens from viewing any other states TV/Radio programs?
any lawyers prepared to comment , for free :)
Also when the BBC finally gts its act together grants OSX users access, will we see all the programs the favoured minority have allready seen, or can we start a predujice case ? (need another free lawyer!!)
Yes we all know that in the world of making money these things are needed to ensure the creators of content get paid. But the fact is that if I have paid my TV License then I have already paid the BBC for the right to view the program. Note I said view it, and not keep it ad infinitum.
I don't know if any of you still use your local public library, but everyone of them is chock full of copyright protected works. Every lending library only asks that you become a member, provide proof of identity and address and they will lend the copyright protected information to you.
You may then take this to your home where in theory you could have all manner of devices capable of copying this work as many times as you cared to. You could even in theory never return the copyright protected work.
Yet still to this day lending libraries across the world function quite well based on the assumption that the vast majority of people will obey the rule of law.
So why can't the owners of digital works do the same? Instead of assuming we are all criminals and ne'er do wells bent on ensuring that the creators of the media do not get paid. Why not simply assume we will obey the law?
All it needs to work well is a format that is too hard to copy easily and if copied produces awful quality. Then to ensure people do not keep the files make the service request you to subscribe to it (proof of Identity and address) and that before you can download another file to view at your leisure that you must first return the one you downloaded last time you used the service. (Just like the system used by the public library service).
Yes you will still get criminals and people who seek to abuse the system. So long as anyone can find a way to either make money from something or save money from something this will always happen. But assuming we are all criminals just defeats the purpose of DRM and in fact makes some people criminals when in the case of something like Microsoft's DRM it forces people into a vendor lock in.
What I've never really understood is what is stopping someone simply recording all BBC output off the air on to a hard disk, compressing it into a standard format and pushing it out on p2p?
Cuts out the middle man (i.e. the BBC) as far as I can see.
Looks like a gaping security hole in any DRM system.
Not that I'm a big fan of the BBC anyway.
The whole argument about content generators needing to get paid and so on obscures the real issue. Very few people are going to make copies of everything because life is just too short, you just can't consume that much material. Restricting access is all about cutting off sources of old material unless you can monetize it -- you remove the old stuff to make room for the new (or, as is fashionable these days, you extend copyright indefinitely and keep reissuing the same old stuff as 'new').
Most contemporary BBC programming is low budget crap. (IMHO) Its not worth spending the time on. There are some exceptions -- Radio4 still manages to struggle along but compared to streams I can pick up (unencumbered) from the rest of the world its just not worth spending the time and effort on.
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Well, iplayer here is saying "Downloads are currently unavailable" This is on O2 broadband in the UK, on a pukka windoze box (which I put up just so I could download the episode of the Last Enemy I missed due to being on a plane.
So, not only is rubbish, it broken rubbish.
What I love is that comments that the Beeb iPlayer techies come out with that this is new technology and bound to have a few teething problems... No, it's old technology and it is bound to fail. Even some member of the music publishers are finally realising this.
But, hey, Macroshaft have to have some where to sell their broken DRM. Wonder where they will try and sell it next?
Paris - because her videos have no DRM - in fact no protection of any sort
“Could you tell me how I do it on Linux on AMD64, or Sparc64, or PowerPC then? Hint, there is no Adobe Flash plugins on these platforms.”
Sparc or PPC – no (well, not easily and not fast).
AMD64 – nspluginwrapper. 64-bit browser, 32-bit Flash plugin, no problems (so long as your kernel was built with 32-bit support enabled, which it probably was).
The BBC download strategy is buggered anyway at the moment - they've not updated the iTunes store for weeks and seem to have totally lost interest (Hotel Babylon, for example, is still on episode 2 whilst they've shown episode 4 on TV and Torchwood is weeks behind!), whilst the iPlayer download service has been broken for about two days giving strange messages about contacting support because it can't be bothered to work...
@Two layers of DRM:
"Layer 1 - IP DRM, restricts delivery to only UK IP addresses
Layer 2 - Microsoft DRM, restruct delivery to Microsoft devices"
Tell me, what is the purpose of the second layer?"
Not as you assert to restrict to Microsoft devices, but actually to restrict the timeframe with which you can watch the program (as they're only allowed to show it for n days), and secondly to prevent people giving the content to non-UK users.
(I didn't say it was perfect or ideal before the flaming starts).
"Why bother? will probably be what the makers of quality drama ...will be saying ... when they can't paid for their work...."
This is the usual "blame the customer" attitude that too many rights holders are taking. They need to think outside the box instead of blaming customers for wanting flexibility. We're not still living in the 1950s with 2 rigidly controlled TV channels as the only broadcast video medium. The old revenue model doesn't work in the web era and producers need to get used to it. Look at where music is going, finally.
And if they can't think of a way to earn - hard luck. Luckily the creative people /will/ still earn a crust, because someone bright and inventive will work out how to sell their product. Its the dinosaurs manning the barricades who'll drown when the tide comes in. $%^&metaphor overload +++redo from start
Downloads have been gradually breaking since Monday.
Monday night 2 out of 3 available programmes I wanted would download, the remaining one threw up the strange error message, but most new episodes said they weren't available at all to download.
Tuesday, almost nothing would download, just error after error, but eventually I forced one program to download. Most series said "this series is not available to download".
By Wednesday it was totally broken. Last night, even the streaming was broken on some episodes, and would reliably break in the same programme in the same place every time.
Have you?, I thought the TV license entitled you to operate a television receiver.
Yes and just where did you think the money you pay goes to?
Instead of hiding behind anonymity while making snide comments, try thinking for once in your life.
The UK TV License scheme is an old hangover from the early days of the BBC. It is an idea which predates independant UK TV companies. It was introduced so the public could fund BBC TV without the BBC having to be depandant on any Government funding thereby granting the BBC a form of independance from Government control.
We pay the license fee based on having a device capable of displaying a television signal. therefore giving the licensee the right to view content produced by and broadcast by the BBC. That fact that we can also view the other channnels terrestrial or otherwise is effectively an value added bonus.
>>thought there was a EU directive which forbid the prevention of one state's citizens from viewing any other states TV/Radio programs?
What's stopping them? I have a Belgian colleague, lives in London, can watch just as much BBC TV as I can.
Getting very tired of all the whining - since when do the BBC have a responsibility to broadcast to every device able to display a picture? I don't see anyone complaining because they have a NTSC TV. If you want to watch BBC programmes, buy something that you can watch them on, and stop complaining.
The iphone scripts that people have provided are working on all iplayer shows that have an available mp4 stream.
All they have done to secure is check for the QuickTime headers and an other header called "Range" on the quick time request its set as: Range: bytes=0-1 Then when the file is downloaded its: Range: bytes=0-
They are not going to be able to stop people faking these Headers.
Silly BBC for going for the PR coverage that the Jebus phone seems to provide.
Ah, and so it starts.
1) Pathetic "security".
2) Easily overridden.
3) Pathetic attempt at fixing "security".
4) Overidden within a matter of hours.
5) A few more pathetic attempts.
6) All overridden within a day each.
7) A massive, overbearing, expensive DRM scheme far superior to that seen before.
8) Cracked by DVD Jon within a month.
9) Several attempts at fixing the problem, all ultimately failing.
10) BBC gives up on downloads because it can't legally guarantee their security.
11) Other stations follow suit, join in with RIAA's cries of "you're ruining our business" while reaping enormous profits still (good luck to them, I say, I don't deny people their profits).
12) "Piracy" continues anyway, using the much simpler methods that had nothing to do with DRM in the first place (a TV card and a cable), but now every company "knows" that you can't make money by offering consumers content, "even with DRM".
Tape copying, CD copying, dongle-cracking, inkjet printer chips, DVD's, music, Blu-Ray, it's all just a cycle. And in the end nothing happens that actually *prevents* "piracy" (this is the same copyright infringement as copying an MP3, software or a movie, don't forget) and consumers find their own ways even if the companies don't offer it.
So the money goes to the people who write the software that cracks the encryption, to the ISP's for their bandwidth charges, etc. instead of to the company that just didn't want to make it easy for their customers to live. And all because of a tiny percentage of unscrupulous people that wouldn't stop copying if you GAVE them DRM-free open-procotol downloads of everything in your archive anyway.
I don't condone "piracy" in any way, shape or form. But I condone even less companies that try to step beyond the law to protect their revenue. For instance, do I have an actual legal right to copy my music for personal use or not? Why don't you tell me, definitively, either way *before* you start spouting off that everything I copy is illegal? Or that it changes depending on jurisdiction? Or that technically it could be illegal but that you don't mind? It's taken years of fighting to get incomplete statements on the above questions, so in the meantime, everyone has just carried on as they want and ignored you. The BBC hasn't done a bad job so far, but they are still standing before important people having to explain why Joe with his Linux machine can't access the same content as others.
When you see kids in schools swapping music, games, ringtones and googling for images to put into their work without care of copyright or other rights, you know exactly where all this is going to end up - a world where all copyrights are basically ignored. That's a bad place to be.
Even back in the old ZX Spectrum days (late 80's, so that's nearly 20 years now), such DRM failed even more miserably without the fanfare. It was still one of the most popular home computers, though, and made many people millionaires. People copied tapes so authors put in copy protections, one person somewhere worked out a method around it, everyone else then carried on copying tapes. And most people still made money - I don't deny that some people would have lost out too but those people putting DRM on their tapes would not have helped sales at all - in fact the opposite.
The most effective copy-protection I ever saw, before I knew what copy-protection was, came on a ZX Spectrum copy of Saboteur - the game said on loading "If this tape hasn't got the words Durell running through it, it's not genuine". And my original, legal tape had the words printed on the lead-in to the tape. I actually checked, even though I had bought it in a store. Nothing since then has been any more effective and I don't see how anything can be (I'm a mathematician and computer-scientists and I have an interest in encryption and communication, so that's rather telling).
I work in network management and only last week, I promised to never buy from two companies again because of overbearing copy-protection. One on a piece of sign-language software that shows signs for the words you select in the bottom-corner of the screen. We're talking 50 lines of Visual Basic and a sign-language clipart folder. It ruins all my network management processes, it "sticks" to machines and won't remove itself, it refuses to install even when we have legitimate licenses and even the helpline aren't that interested in helping us install it.
The other needed a floppy disk to install, remove, or change itself and the floppy kept track of which machines it was on, how many licenses you used etc. Much neater than the above but still a PITA, especially when half my machines don't even HAVE a floppy. So I made a Rawrite image of the floppy before I started and I do "manual" license enforcement without the hassle, whether from image or a real floppy.
In any places that matter, people HAVE to do license enforcement whether you make them or not, whether the software enforces it or not. There's a tiny middle ground that MAY be costing companies some money but the fact is that with DRM you're losing more in causing the former places hassle than you EVER will make back from DRM once you take into account DRM development, lost sales, etc.
When they fix this rubbish, for-education-only software of little value, that nobody would have any interest in copying AT ALL, I'll start buying licenses again. In the meantime, neither company will be getting any money and we'll just find an alternative package and look forward to the day that nobody has the software installed on any machines at all. And that's an entirely legitimate practice in a perfectly-licensed workplace. That's how much you make me hate your software when you put DRM in unnecessarily.
Eventually the BBC will learn, like the music artists are starting to. DRM is a way to stop your customers buying and using things they want to. The BBC will have to renegotiate all their contracts which will be difficult, but the DRM is just an absolute waste of time, like the geographic IP restrictions. You can't solve an (at least) 20 year old problem overnight when there isn't a single product that even gets close... the dongles on high-end CAD software cost hundreds of pounds and they are routinely bypassed by crackers. Either offer your archive in a sensible, non-DRM format, even for a reasonable price or don't "promise" that you can do it sensibly with DRM.
To watch the two Jonathan Meades BBC 4 Magnetic North programmes that I was unable to watch at the originally transmitted time.
Wait for the DVDs to be possibly maybe released in a few years at approxmately £10 per programme (judging by the upcoming Abroad Again collection to be released in April). Pfff.
VHS? Nah, not in this day and age, surely iPlayer is my friend?
Flash iPlayer works OK as a refined BBC YouTube, but WHY! the 7 day limit? Tesco wouldn't limit a product's shelf-life in this absurd manner. But I wasn't able to watch the first episode in the week before the second episode was broadcast. And naturally, I wanted to watch the programmes in sequence.
So I went reluctantly for option number 2.
To the downloads...
I installed the downloader, and turned off the "run-this-even-when-I'm not-using-it" bits. Could've been coincidence, but after installation, Windows began to start up suspiciously slow. Not a good start. Undeterred, I carried on and downloaded the two Jonathan Meades BBC 4 Magnetic North Programmes.
30 days to view 'em apparently. But this is reduced to 7 days once you undo the wrapping. WHY?! Anyway, I downloaded 'em and left the two progs sitting on my hard drive. Didn't take a peek at what I'd just downloaded so that the 30 day timer wasn't cut back to 7.
So within the 30 days of download, I finally had 2 hours when I was able to watch the two downloads. Got comfy. Opened the download manager. Selected Episode 1. "Checking rights blah, blah, blah..." Nothing. Back into iPlayer Download Manager. Only Programme 2 is showing as available. WHY?! Despondently select Episode 2. The BBC 4 ident plays, but nowt else. WHY?! "Please check our help section and FAQs." OK, I will.
Unfortunately, the BBC help section is just a badly designed forum filled with people repeatedly asking similar questions about why they can't get iPlayer to work. On the infrequent occasion that there is an official reply, it ignores the question and directs you to the bloated, repetetive, uninformative FAQ.
iPlayer is not my friend. It's a bag 'o' shite.
Uninstalled iPlayer. And thankfully, my computer boots up normally again.
---Recommendations for further work---
Find out WHY! the BBC has introduced the iPlayer at great expense if it offers absolutely no improvement over VHS.
Sod 'em. For the first time ever, I'm feeling compelled, motivated and justified in investigating the murky, grey, world of torrents/thepiratebay/etc.
"What I've never really understood is what is stopping someone simply recording all BBC output off the air on to a hard disk, compressing it into a standard format and pushing it out on p2p?"
If you don't know this already happens, you're not looking hard enough. I haven't switched my tv on in months, as everything i want is available within a few hours of being broadcast, anywhere in the world.
I regularly wind up the people i work with by telling them whats going to happen on Lost when its broadcast in the UK a few days later (Quite impressive actually, usually its months or years later). I watched both seasons of Dexter and Heroes as they were first broadcast in the US, in fact i've watched pretty much all of the new american shows right up to the point the writers strike caused them all to be abandoned.
It's such a shame that the illegal route is so much easier and much more user friendly than the legal routes.
Surely if Linex users cannot view the Flash because of problems with Adobe not supporting Linex, then the problem is nothing to do with the BBC, and to do with the fact that Adobe, or Linex, not suporting what is considerd to be a standard net tool.
As for paying to view the programs, you dont. Your fee gives you the right to recive the BBC transmision...
>Have you?, I thought the TV license entitled you to operate a television >receiver.
>Yes and just where did you think the money you pay goes to?
I now where some of the license fee goes.
>Instead of hiding behind anonymity while making snide comments, try thinking for once in your life.
Just a statement of fact regarding the license, and AC, its my choice as it is yours
FFS I can't believe the amount of people justifying this with the fact that the BBC doesn't own the copyright to these programs. What exactly are they doing with the 135 quid a year that every household in the country pays them. Just stop and think for a second, that's 135 quid times millions of licence payers and all they can offer us for that sort of silly money is pay production companies to produce programmes for them? ITV and C4 do that for free. For that amount of cash they should be sending us DVD's through the post, not whingeing about people downloading it for free.
I find the whole premise of the BBC absolutely insane, it's every bit as dumbed down as the commercial channels these days and it's time we treated it as such and stopped paying for it.
It always comes back to the plumbers (or bricklayers or tilers).
If a one of those trades produces a body of work, I pay them for it, it's mine. No matter how many showers I have, I've paid for the job up front. I don't have to pay to use the shower in my house. It's mine. It's not copyable. I paid for the plumber and the tiler to install a shower because I can't do it myself.
Similarly, and more closely related to TV, if a painter or sculptor wants to sell me a one-off original work that I couldn't have produced myself, then they can. If I want to produce a really, really good copy of it, and sell it or give it away as a copy, I can. Or if the artist want's to make make more money from that piece of work, there's the option of producing a series of copies rather than just selling one unique item. But I can still buy one and I can still produce a really, really good copy of it, and sell it or give it away as a copy.
All these further copies diminish the value of each individual copy.
If I want to put my copy in a nice viewing room next to the town centre square, and ban photography, I can.
However, why bother if you've already put a full size copy of the artwork on a plinth in the town square?
Especially when I can't stop folk looking or taking photos, and neither I (or the original artist) can't charge them for doing so. It's in a public place, already paid for by their town square tax.
And especially when there are loads of folk who go to the town centre square every week, take a photo of the new artwork and show a really good print in their own rooms. Rooms that are closer to home than the one next to the town centre square.
I might be able to make some money from a gift shop if I sell exact replicas from the town square. Some people like to be able to have something tangible to own. But again, I'm up against these folk who take the photo's and put up free display copies and will not just display it in their home, but make a copy for their mate too.
I could always put the artwork on the back of a lorry and tow it past all the local venues that have a copy of the artwork on display, I suppose, but folk probably won't bother to look out for it, as one of their mates has a really good copy on permanent display next door.
I suppose there's slightly more chance that folk will look at my artwork if I take another lorry around, 1 hour later...not everyone has a mate with a camera yet.
Remeber: there are loads of other folk putting their art on display. There are some popular ones too. It's just that their town square isn't funded by the public's tax, but it's much less pleasing on the eye, cos every now & again a big box covered in adverts will descend over the artwork for a few moments. Some folks have sports in their open square, but they charge an entrance fee to get in and take a look. Most squares will have street artists and buskers. Some ask for a donation, but most are willing to perform for free in the hope that you'll take a picture and show it to your mates, or maybe even one of the town square owners will comission some artwork from you. There are, of course, the poor old prostitutes too, who aren't artists, but thay'll show you their bits for a few quid.
The "artist" is whoever made the programme.
The "original artwork" is the *original performance*.
The "copy of the artwork on display in the town centre" is the TV transmission.
The "town square" is the TV.
The "town square tax" is the BBC licence fee.
The "street artists and buskers" is the user generated content.
The "prostitutes" are the reality tv wannabes.
The "gift shop sales" are DVDs.
The "nice viewing room" is the iPlayer.
The "distance from my house to the town centre square", and the "ban on photography" is the complexity of the DRM rules.
The "mate next door with a a camera and a copy on display" is the P2P network.
The "lorry and the lorry behind, one hour after" are TVs '+1' channels.
The "going to town each week" is the computer+broadband.
The "camera" is the internet.
Summary: Some people have a "camera", some "go to town". When everyone has a nice "camera" and "goes to town" each week, there will be no need at all for a "nice viewing room" or a silly "touring lorry".
Just because a law exists, doesn't make it right.
Just because TV existed before the internet, it doesn't TV is a fundamental or realistic distribution model for disseminating copies of artwork.
TV programmes should be paid for up front.
"Surely if Linex users cannot view the Flash because of problems with Adobe not supporting Linex, then the problem is nothing to do with the BBC, and to do with the fact that Adobe, or Linex, not suporting what is considerd to be a standard net tool."
can you kindly refer me to the RFC documents and W3C specs which make Flash a "standard net tool" ?
It's not. It's common, (but so is herpes). It's widely used. But it ain't a standard. It it was, you can bet your ass it'd be working flawlessly in a Linux environment.
No, ITV and C4 do not do it for free. They put adverts on our screens which generate MUCH more money than the BBC get.
Also, IIRC old auntie don't get ALL of our license moneys.
Stop being a dick and think about what you are saying. If the BBC doesn't own the copyright on a program, they must license it to show it. If that license says they must use DRM to allow downloads, they either use DRM and allow downloads, don't use DRM and don't allow downloads, or dont use DRM, allow downloads, and get sued.
The one thing I don't think is right is that they apply this policy to their own programs aswell. The main thing I watch on the BBC is Top Gear, which AFAIK is owned by the BBC. Why do they not allow me to download that without DRM? I know it is probably because they sell DVDs and dont want to loose that money, but it is irritating.
Oh well, a couple of months time and I will have my PVR built, with 6 tuners and the ability to record every channel on freeview. Already have a couple of terrabytes of hdd space and a load of DVD-Rs, so I won't be needing the crap that is iPlayer.
I'm not 100% convinced I am being a dick. All I'm saying is that apart from the odd program I'm not convinced that they're producing "top quality content" and additionally where they are not much of it seems to be done "in house" if you see what I mean. Apart from that it's the same slack jawed cheap lowest common denominator entertainment (like reality TV) that the commercial stations produce. Even the news website isn't as good as it used to be.
In America advertising on commercial channels is definitely annoying - but I find the level of advertising in the UK pretty tolerable. The thing that annoys most people about old Auntie's licensing structure is that it's based around an ancient and irrelevant model and there's no opt out other than to not own any receiving equipment - in the same way that I don't bother paying for Sky I'd like to have the choice of not paying for the BBC.
"FFS I can't believe the amount of people justifying this with the fact that the BBC doesn't own the copyright to these programs. What exactly are they doing with the 135 quid a year that every household in the country pays them."
This hits the nail precisely on the head. It seems to me that there's a nice little industry going on down in London where friends of Nathan Barley at the BBC pay handsomely for Mr Barley's production company to make programmes, only to not insist that the BBC actually get to own any of it. Then, they appear to license the programmes in the narrowest sense (giving them excuses why they can't just let people download the stuff without stupid digital restrictions management), presumably handing over yet more money to Mr Barley in the process. And again, if the BBC want to put their brand on the DVD.
I'd certainly like to see if there's any money "leaking" in the other direction in some of these transactions, or whether there's any "overlap" between the executives of such companies and the BBC.
//The problem was that people could keep the downloads and share them around the world. Being a license payer does not entitle you to take DVDs from the BBC Shop and send copies of them to your mates - exactly what people were effectively doing with the iPhone hack.
And this is different from people with a VCR recording the TV signal as it's broadcast? Or how about using a TV card in a computer to record the digital broadcast stream to a file in the standard MPEG2 format...
As it stands, if i miss a show i will simply find a torrent of it rather than using the BBC's download service. The torrents simply offer a superior service (no DRM, no platform restrictions, standard formats)... I can watch it whenever i want to, on whatever device i choose to.
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