E-mail to Ofcom: DRM in Next-Gen BBC TV Signals

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This e-mail was sent to Andrew Dumbreck at Ofcom on 16th September 2009.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you regarding the document entitled “Enquiry to Ofcom from BBC Free to View Ltd concerning its DTT high definition multiplex licence”, which I have just been made aware of via an online news source.

As a Briton and a licence-fee payer, I would like to register my distress that, from this document, it looks like content providers are pressuring the BBC to protect content via a Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme that would require all end-user equipment in people’s homes to have the ability to decode it. This is a clear step backwards from the freedoms that the BBC introduced with the iPlayer, and a step away from the licence-fee payers being able to access the content they pay for in any way they want.

Furthermore, I use a custom-built PC as a digital video recorder in my living room, using open-source software. These open-source applications generally do not have a corporate sponsor or a pot of money from which they could pay to licence the decoding technology that is being suggested, which would render my and similar devices useless for recording these signals.

I am strongly of the opinion that the BBC should be working to make its broadcasts more widely available, not less, and thus that the introduction of DRM on BBC broadcasts is not in the public interest that the BBC attempts to serve.

Thank you for your time.


Ian Renton

Result: Success!