February 26, 2004
The iMP is not the Creative Archive. And of course the iMP will have DRM.

Matt has confused gets grumpy about the BBC using DRM for it's iMP pilot, one of the two recently-announced BBC 'download TV' trials. The /. poster he quotes with such ranty-relish has conflated the BBC's Creative Archive pilot (announced last summer) with the equally thoroughly announced BBC Interactive Media Player (aka the iMP) pilot.

  • The BBC Creative Archive is a pilot project aimed at looking at ways to make freely available for download & reuse BBC's archive of programmes. The ambition is to make available as much of the archive as can be rights-cleared with the many and varied rights-holders. This is a profoundly non-trivial issue, as any IP lawyer will attest. It's the BBC doing the creative commons thing with - as Lessig puts it - that 98-odd% of the archive which no-longer has commercial value.

  • The BBC Interactive Media Player is another, different pilot looking at delivering the current BBC TV schedule to UK users via broadband. Or as much of the TV schedule as possible anyway - even with DRM it would not surprise me if some rights-owners have issues with the programmes being downloaded via the net, whatever the DRM. It will give you a 7 day window after broadcast to watch the show, in exactly the same manner as the BBC RadioPlayer does for BBC radio shows. It will be DRM'd, since many of the programmes the BBC broadcasts show have significant commercial value to their owners and associated rights-holders, over and above the money the BBC will have paid to buy some of the broadcast rights on UK television. The BBC appears to have announced today that that iMP trial will use Microsoft Windows Media player, and associated DRM.

It wouldn't surprise me if both pilots shared similar distribution insfrastructures - possibly P2P which would make sense.

I really can't understand how Matt has confused these two pilots. I mean, if Web User magazine can differentiate between them... [Update: reading it again, it's clear that he hasn't confused them - he's just grumpy about DRM in general]

I can't see how the BBC could be seen to be in a position to make all of its current TV material available for free download. It simply doesn't own the rights, right now.

That might change in the future, but it'll only change when rights holders (tv production companies, presenters, musicians, etc etc - dozens of rights holder even for a 30min sciene doc) see the benefits of a creative commons approach, whilst understanding that the demand is there to download TV shows over the net.

As I'm fond of saying, you can either get stuck in and try to change things, or sit by and wail at the moon.
[that was an unfair & grumpy late night rant - matt did work his arse off to change things...]

Posted by tomski at February 26, 2004 07:34 PM | TrackBack
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