[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Saturday, 2010-02-13

Digital Rights Mafia successfully bullies BBC

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Technology,Television — bblackmoor @ 12:49

It appears that the Digital Rights Mafia and the media robber barons have successfully done in Britain what they failed to do in the USA in 2003 — bullied the broadcasters into allowing the robber barons to control not only the content, but the devices used to play that content.

In my latest Guardian column, “Why did Ofcom back down over DRM at the BBC?” I look at how lamentably credulous both the BBC and its UK regulator, Ofcom, have been in accepting US media’ giants threats to boycott the Beeb if it doesn’t add digital rights management to its broadcasts. The BBC is publicly funded, and it is supposed to be acting in the public interest: but crippling British TV sets in response for demands from offshore media barons is no way to do this — and the threats the studios have made are wildly improbable. When the content companies lost their bid to add DRM to American TV, they made exactly the same threats, and then promptly caved and went on allowing their material to be broadcast without any technical restrictions.

How they rattled their sabers and promised a boycott of HD that would destroy America’s chances for an analogue switchoff. For example, the MPAA’s CTO, Fritz Attaway, said that “high-value content will migrate away” from telly without DRM.

Viacom added: “[i]f a broadcast flag is not implemented and enforced by Summer 2003, Viacom’s CBS Television Network will not provide any programming in high definition for the 2003-2004 television season.”

One by one, the big entertainment companies – and sporting giants like the baseball and American football leagues – promised that without the Broadcast Flag, they would take their balls and go home.

So what happened? Did they make good on their threats? Did they go to their shareholders and explain that the reason they weren’t broadcasting anything this year is because the government wouldn’t let them control TVs?

No. They broadcast. They continue to broadcast today, with no DRM.

They were full of it. They did not make good on their threats. They didn’t boycott.

They caved.

Why did Ofcom back down over DRM at the BBC?

(From New column: Why is Ofcom ready to allow BBC DRM?, Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com

What the hell has happened to the once-great Britain? They gave us the foundations of our society — the rights of free men to bear arms, the rights of a jury to decide not only if a law was broken, but whether that law should be enforced at all, and the basic right of the governed to expect their government to treat them justly… all of this is due to our country’s British origins.

I have to say, I am a little disappointed with what’s become of them.