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  • (01. January 2010., 10:27:49)

Author Topic: BBC's use of Windows DRM attacked by open source advocates  (Read 3380 times)

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The BBC's decision to use Microsoft DRM for its new iPlayer "catch-up" service has come under fire from an open-source group that objects to the UK's apparent endorsement of Windows. The UK's Open Source Consortium has written a letter to regulators asking that open solutions be used instead.
The iPlayer in question is a BBC service that will allow viewers to watch any show that they have missed for up to a week after it airs on television. The service is poised to launch soon, but it has generated controversy over the BBC Trust's (which controls the Beeb) decision to require DRM on the downloads. The idea is that the shows will expire after a few days so that content owners can continue to make money on secondary licensing rights, DVD compilations, etc. The Beeb is also not keen on shows being downloaded and e-mailed to friends and family outside the UK.

The BBC chose Microsoft DRM to protect the downloads, which means that Mac and Linux users are left out in the cold. This didn't sit well with the Open Source Consortium, which has just written a letter to the BBC.

"This action from the BBC effectively promotes one operating system vendor at the expense of others," said the group's CEO, Ian Roberts. "It is very disturbing that the BBC should be using the license payers' money to affect the operating system market in this way. Imagine if the BBC were to launch new digital channels, but only make them available on a certain make of television—there would be uproar."

The BBC has already expressed its support for the Mac and claims that something will be done as soon as possible (which will probably involve a RealPlayer system).

The Open Source Consortium has also written to regulators like Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading and points out that Microsoft (and specifically its media player) was cited as anticompetitive by the EU. Making the iPlayer Windows-only—and using Microsoft DRM to do so—could be against the spirit of the EU ruling, said the group.
ars technica
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