[nSLUG] BBC iPlayer (UK only) blocking open source flash players

Dop Ganger nslug at fop.ns.ca
Tue Mar 2 18:00:52 AST 2010

On Tue, 2 Mar 2010, George N. White III wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 8:05 AM, Dop Ganger <nslug at fop.ns.ca> wrote:
>> On Sun, 28 Feb 2010, George N. White III wrote:
>>> The content in question is restricted to UK IP's, and UK residents pay
>>> a BBC License fee, so the content in question is not readily
>>> accessible outside the UK.
>> The content is not *legitimately* available outside the UK. It is
>> trivially available from, off the top of my head:
> It may be legitimate if you get thru a source that purchased
> the content from BBC or the same originator who sold UK
> rights to the BBC.

Alas and alack, that is not quite how the beeb works in its precious and 
twisted bureaucratic little way. Content on (say) DVD is considered 
completely different from TV distribution is completely different to 
streaming media. There are certainly different departments, and for 
certain areas completely different companies (and I know the gory details 
because a friend of mine used to work for Rights and was fond of telling 
stories starting with "you won't believe what your license fee was spent 
on today...").

>> http://www.eztv.it
>> http://www.thebox.bz
>> http://www.uknova.com
>> If I were feeling twee, I might bring up that comment about the Internet
>> recognising silly buggers, and routing around it.
> Content providers need to get paid just as book authors and
> musicians do.  The problem is that many of the schemes
> used to "protect" content originators are designed more for
> the benefit of the lawyers and certain companies than for
> the audience.

Or to express in my own bitter and cynical way, to allow payment of the 
lawyers and certain companies rather than to allow the people appreciating 
the content to pay the performers for said performers' efforts. This then 
brings up ridiculous requirements which seem to be effectively the content 
provider doing their very best to shoot themselves in the foot - needle 
time is the first example I can think of that comes to mind but I'm sure 
there were earlier, and there are similar "pay to play" type deals still 
going on today (if not more so).

> BBC is important because the license system gives power to a board that 
> is supposed to represent users.

Not quite. The BBC's mission is, and I quote Reith directly, to "educate, 
inform, and entertain". It is explicitly not for the shilling of shiny 
gew-gaws, which is what separates it from the commercial channels. Input 
is accepted from users by the board (although I vaguely recall hearing 
they are now a trust) but the users by no means direct it. In any case, 
the board is (or, sadly now possibly, was) explicitly forbidden from 
interfering with programming.

> If users have power they will demand access to content they like (or 
> think they will like due to marketing).

At which point the airwaves will be filled with Jeremy Kyle and his ilk, 
thus giving me one more reason not to be living in the UK any more.

> "Free" radio/TV is a different way of giving control to users as 
> advertisers won't support content that doesn't generate sales, which 
> requires viewers and a way of getting them to notice the sponsor's 
> product, e.g. NASCAR.

Free media that that has explicitly advertiser supported content (eg, ad 
breaks) or explicitly obvious content (such as the NASCAR example you 
mentioned) is acceptble in my opinion; what concerns me is the "product 
placement" idea where the adverts are embedded into the show. I hear the 
next step coming down the rung is embedding adverts into games which 
self-update with the latest advertising content off the net.

Cheers... Dop.

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