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Re: [Fsfe-uk] BBC's DRM Iplayer windows only

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] BBC's DRM Iplayer windows only
Date: Sat, 08 Sep 2007 13:08:49 +0100

On Sat, 2007-09-08 at 12:41 +0100, Jon Grant wrote:
> Wonder if BBC plan is to run something on top of MS's Silverlight (might 
> have read this somewhere already).

That's pretty close to the truth as I understand it - it's been touted
in the trade press.

> I guess the BBC would have no quarrels with a proprietary linux 
> application to fulfil their requirement set down by the Trust. Would be 
> better if they were obliged to use open standards and free software to 
> achieve cross-platform compatibility.

I think there's actually three things at play here:

     1. whether or not the player is free software;
     2. whether or not the video codecs are free software;
     3. whether or not the BBC use DRM.

At the moment, 1, 2, & 3 are all 'not'. 1 is pretty trivial imho, and
not really worth worrying about.

The question of 3 is likely non-negotiable. I don't see the BBC spending
the money for the rights to do that, if the rights are even available. I
suspect that could only be solved in a wider debate involving the BBC,
Equity, et al.

2. is the main issue, as far as I'm concerned. At the moment with
Moonlight, there is a completely free software stack whose only problem
is that the video codecs (ffmpeg etc.) are patent-encumbered (even
taking into account some people's allergy to .net, with Silverlight 1.0
that's not really an issue, though granted it would be with 1.1).

AIUI the Novell situation, Microsoft will make available binary-only
codecs for browser use only, which is clearly not an acceptable
position. However, the patent license would need to come from MPEG LA or
someone, so it's not really within the gift of either player to improve
that situation.

The difficult issues here don't really seem to be in the control of the
BBC imho.



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