OFCOM consultation on BBC “Broadcast Flag”

The BBC are proposing to stop you watching HD television unless you go out and buy all new equipment where the manufacturers have signed a secret deal to implement restrictions. You can read more about this in the Guardian. I, personally, don’t like this. OFCOM have opened this up to public consultation, but you only have until 5pm tomorrow (Friday 2nd April) to get your opinions heard. My answers are below.

Question 1: Do you agree that copy management would broaden the range of HD content available on DTT and help secure its long term viability as a platform?
I do not agree that copy management would broaden the range of HD content available on DTT. Look at the outpouring of creativity engendered by YouTube for an obvious counter-example. There is simply no way that explicitly excluding part of the audience can lead to a larger audience.
Question 2: Do you agree that the BBC’s proposed multiplex licence amendment represents the most appropriate means for securing an effective content management system on HD DTT?
I do not agree that the BBC’s proposed licence amendment, or indeed any licence amendment, represents any appropriate means for an “effective content management system”. The BBC has operated since 1927 and become the most successful and most loved broadcaster in the world by being open with its work. To step back away from this now would be a drastic failure in the BBC’s remit and standing.
Question 3: Do you agree with the proposed change to Condition 6 in the Multiplex B Licence?
I do not agree with the proposed change. Restricting access to EPG data is, frankly, legalised arm-twisting; it’s transparently a way to bring in restrictions “by the back door”, and it’s disappointing to see the BBC, an organisation that has always prided itself on openness, make this suggestion. Calling oneself “BBC Free to View Ltd” and then ensuring that “free to view” content is effectively not free by restricting access to the EPG is a touch hypocritical.
Question 4: Do you agree that Multiplexes C and D should be granted a similar amendment to their Licences as Multiplex B?.
Question 5: Do you agree that the BBC’s proposed approach for implementing content management would safeguard citizens and consumers legitimate use of HD content, and if not, what additional guarantees would be appropriate?
I do not agree that the BBC’s proposed approach would safeguard legitimate use of HD content; on the contrary, it will explicitly disallow legitimate use of HD content by citizens and consumers using open-source technologies such as MythTV, citizens who wish to make their technology choices based on price without having to pay the inevitable price increase levied by firms who have struck a secret agreement and then passed the resultant cost onto the consumer, and frankly any British resident who enjoys consuming BBC content and does not want to have their existing working equipment rendered obsolete without having done anything wrong.
Question 6: Do you agree that the BBC’s proposed choice of content management technologies will have only a negligible impact on the cost of HD DTT receivers and their interoperability with other HD consumer equipment? .
I do not agree that the content maangement technology choices proposed by the BBC will have a negligible impact on cost and interoperability. Requiring consumers to buy new equipment is a cost in itself, especially when that new equipment is deliberately incompatible with existing equipment, such as HD TVs, which currently work but did not anticipate an industry-led imposition of a Broadcast Flag.
Question 7: Do stakeholders agree that the BBC’s proposed Huffman Code licensing arrangements would have a negligible effect on the market for HD DTT receivers?
Question 8: Do the BBC’s proposed content management states and their permitted use for different categories of HD content meet the requirements of other HD broadcasters on DTT?
Go and leave your thoughts.
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