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BBC Views Content Piracy As Wake-Up Call 388

Peregr1n writes "The BBC is reporting that they view the piracy of a Doctor Who episode before its broadcast date earlier this year as a 'wake-up call about the demand for new technology', in a refreshing change of opinion from most media/broadcasting corporations, who would damn this piracy without hesitation. They are forming plans to simulcast the television channels BBC1 and BBC2 on the web, as well as allowing users (only in the UK to start with, unfortunately) access to shows for a week after the broadcast date. It is worth noting that they are already trying out a system where they make shows available on the web before television broadcast, with The Mighty Boosh. Other BBC3 comedies are due to follow suit and become available on the internet first." Relatedly, shadowlight1 writes "K9, Doctor Who's lovable robotic dog, is returning to the new series with a cameo in season 2."
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BBC Views Content Piracy As Wake-Up Call

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  • All I can say is: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RazorRaiser ( 895600 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:47PM (#13409355)
    • by SargeantLobes ( 895906 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @03:53PM (#13410439)

      We (the dutch) are allready doing this. The website ( [] translate as "Missed Broadcast/Episode" hosts most of the stuff broadcast by public access (three channles here), it's all avaialable for free, and without commercials (which our public access does have, but only in between shos, not during).

      I myself am enjoying this service so much, that I'm thinking of not getting a TV at all (I'm moving out soon, finally), since I'll be able to get my news, and background (60 minutes like shows) from the forementioned website. I'll just get the big american shows from the web, I usually end up doing that now anyway, since our (fully) commercial channels are atleast six months behind on the americans.

  • Archers (Score:2, Funny)

    by GraWil ( 571101 )
    And yet, I still cannot listen to a podcast of the Archers []!!! And please, no more excuses [].
    • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:53PM (#13409420) Journal

      If I have signed a licencing agreement with X over a (presumably popular, though I've never listened to it myself) show, wouldn't X be rightfully annoyed if I then start giving it away ?

      Say X's business depends on it, and they've committed funds on that basis - the beeb would be in obvious breach of the licence, and would be open to being sued. This is therefore not an excuse, it's a cold hard problem. Deal.

      It annoys me when (anyone) makes a bold new move, and joe-random-nobody pops up with "yes, but it still doesn't do *this*". So what ? Progress is being made in a good direction. The idea is to applaud and encourage, not to bitch and moan. Some people are so unbelievably self-centred.

      (who's noted that being critical of someone on /. is a karma-reducing option, but hey, critical points can be valid too...)
      • Say X's business depends on it,
        An awful lot of businesses seem to depend on locking things away in the deepest cellar after initial broadcasting on TV then.
        • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @05:22PM (#13411331)

          An awful lot of businesses seem to depend on locking things away in the deepest cellar after initial broadcasting on TV then.

          They do. The market for entertainment has a limited size, since there's only a limited number of people and limited amount of time per day that a particular human being can devote to entertainment. Therefore, every piece of new entertainment will be directly competing with old entertainment.

          In other words, if old episodes of, say, Powerpuff Girls keep circulating among fans, it lessens the demand for Powerpuff Girls Z - and whatdoyou know, Cartoon Network is not showing PGG anymore, now that PPGZ is nearing launch (or has possibly already been launched in Japan).

          It's simply a matter of trying to sell new series into a saturated market - you need to kill off some old stuff to make room for new stuff.

          Then there's the matter of profile - maybe whoever produced the program wants to forget it ever existed. Maybe he wants to make a "special edition" and forget the original ever existed (but Han still shoots first). Maybe the program used material licensed from some other entity, and that creates legal trouble (Star Trek: The Animated Series, for example, used Kzinti from Larry Niven's books).

      • And since when is "joe-random-nobody" requesting a feature/service/enhancement or pointing out a flaw/place-for-improvement a bad thing? Certainly when a company or person does a good thing it is worthy of applause and encouragement, but why do we then have to exclude all the negative? Both positive and negative feedback can help to improve a product or service. If no one ever complained about bugs in software, they would likely get overlooked in favor of shiny new features (and sometimes they do anyways)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Thank god the BBC have some common sense.
  • duh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JeffSh ( 71237 ) <> on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:48PM (#13409359)
    BBC, as a publicly funded institution, much like PBS, obviously views broadcast completely different than a for-profit station.

    besides being obvious, this is very nice, and a credit to the BBC for showing that sometimes publicly run things do get it right.

    **this is not an endorsement for state sponsored programs or wholesale socialism, because most of the time it sucks... but BBC seems to be doing it right, for a change.
    • Re:duh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nos. ( 179609 )
      But who says a private individual (or even company) couldn't do the same, skipping or delaying the public television release in favour of a downloadable episode(s). Put in some overlay advertising or such. Actually putting in real commercials would result in the comercials being cut out and then the video being redistributed.
      • Actually putting in real commercials would result in the comercials being cut out and then the video being redistributed.

        I don't know about that.

        Put it out on the web at the same time it is airing, and I'll watch it commercials and all. I just lack a TV (and the desire to buy one).

        I'd rather watch it now with commercials than find it on bittorrent the next morning and wait for a download. No question in my mind.
      • Re:duh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:22PM (#13409712) Homepage Journal
        They could, especially if they weren't networks. The networks have a particular reason (economically speaking) to keep the shows private: access to the limited resource of public airwaves and/or cable TV space/satellite space.

        These are extremely convenient ways to watch TV, so people prefer them to Internet broadcasts. Also, because of the high barrier-to-entry, there's a perception (true or not) that it's "better" content: it's "what's on TV". There's a considerable amount of simple inertia, too.

        So advertisers will pay more for a 30-second commericial on TV than for an overtitle on your web broadcast. (You may well find overlays even more aggravating than commercials.) Or you could put in real commercials and watch the slashdotters scream about the DRM you put on to keep people from skipping them.

        You'll find that the expense of producing a TV show, plus the expense of serving up 640x480 video images, rapidly exceeds the budget you get from advertising.

        That said, feel free to prove me wrong. Overcome the inertia, make something good enough that people WANT to download it. Or build a set-top box for serving up Internet-based content, and hook it up to a simple remote.

        (The remote alone is a big barrier. A TV remote has the simplicity of ten digits because of the limited number of channels. Full URLs are going to be a pain in the ass. Tie it in to full-scale web surfing, perhaps, with a wireless keyboard, preferably for a high-def TV so that you can read the screen...)

        I'd love to see the Internet break the barriers that scarce spectrum/cable/satellite bandwiths bring up. It's starting to happen with music, which has lower start-up costs both in production and bandwidth. Video content may be next.
    • Re:duh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ( 745183 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:04PM (#13409540) Homepage
      besides being obvious, this is very nice, and a credit to the BBC...

      FWIW, it didn't seem obvious to me.

      Pushing the content into the pirate's channels before the pirate can. Hmmm... why wouldn't that work for commercial TV too, with ads in place as originally broadcast? Sure, maybe ads could be fast-forwarded, as with TiVo, but maybe they wouldn't all be (as with TiVo).

      (Nice they're reviving K9. Consonant with with their anti-piracy push-philosophy, makes him sort of a 'please-watch dog'...)

    • BBC, as a publicly funded institution, much like PBS, obviously views broadcast completely different than a for-profit station.

      I don't think so. At least where I live (Greece), for-profit TV stations make money by showing ads (and plenty of them, too). If they were streaming shows on the web at the same time they could include the ads, which would just give them more revenue while also being convenient for the users.
    • by emil ( 695 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:19PM (#13409677)

      The BBC has a lot of content that I like; the few odd series that have made it to US public television that I specifically remember were Doctor Who, Are You Being Served, May to December (was that the name of it?), Mulberry, etc.

      There were quite a few others that generated buzz but I never managed to see (Kumars of x Street, Yes Minister, some of the old crufty stuff like Upstairs Downstairs).

      Heck, even MTV picked up The Young Ones.

      The BBC has a large catalog of shows. Imagine charging an internet license for Bittorrent access to this archive and suddenly doubling their audience.

      It was recently very difficult to get the entire Doctor Who 2005 down by bittorrent. If the BBC guarantees a few seeds for everything, then heck I'd pay.

      It will be somewhat ironic if the BBC becomes a global media powerhouse while ABC, CBS and NBC go the way of the dinosaur.

    • by homebrewmike ( 709361 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:56PM (#13410010)
      > **this is not an endorsement for state sponsored
      > programs or wholesale socialism, because most
      > of the time it sucks...

      Yeah, "socialist tv really sucks:"
      NOVA, Wall Street Week, Seasame Street, This Old House, Victory Garden, McNeal Leher Report, Cosmos, Scientific Frontiers...

      Not to mention, the cooperation that brought us:
      Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dr. Who, Blake 7, Benny Hill, Faulty Towers, Monty Python,

      As opposed to Quality TV on Korporate Funded Networks:
      Friends, pick your favorite reality show, Different Strokes, Heehaw, the 700 Club, GMA, Katie Couric, Friends,

      Sure, Korporate TV does get some things right, but show for show, "socialist tv" is doing a hell of a lot better.
    • Re:duh (Score:3, Insightful)

      BBC, as a publicly funded institution,

      Only part of its funding is derived from the licence fee. It also generates a lot by selling programmes outside the UK, and through DVDs and so on. It could be argued that BitTorrents of shows might be damaging to these other sources of revenue, and it might be that the BBC is seeking to protect. However early access (via electronic formats) might boost sales if a way to deliver and sell via electronic media is made possible.

  • Piracy or leak? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    the piracy of a Doctor Who episode before its broadcast date

    Those wacky Brits, and their funny spelling of "leak".

    I was sure that most people knew it was a viral-style publicity stunt.

    • Re:Piracy or leak? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Akai ( 11434 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:57PM (#13409465) Homepage Journal
      I'm not convinced it was a stunt, I'm sure the "buzz" it generated was more welcome than shunned, but there a few things that indicate the "CBC employee leaked it" story are at least partially true.

      The main one being that the leaked episode one was an NTSC rip (29.97 fps) and not a PAL (25 fps) that indicates that it did indeed come from an NTSC territory and not a PAL one.
      • Re:Piracy or leak? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by absurdist ( 758409 )
        The main one being that the leaked episode one was an NTSC rip (29.97 fps) and not a PAL (25 fps) that indicates that it did indeed come from an NTSC territory and not a PAL one.

        Which means nothing at all. I just ripped a copy of "True Stories" for my girlfriend in Serbia. And reencoded it from NTSC to PAL with no problems whatsoever. The tools are very cheap and easy to use. It could easily have been a reencoded PAL rip.

        • Re:Piracy or leak? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pkhuong ( 686673 )
          That creates artefacts, though. You can't pull information out of thin air.
  • BBC TV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superspaz ( 902023 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:49PM (#13409370)
    If the BBC does this internationally I'd be willing to pay for their content. Currently they have news clips available on-line and I would welcome a move towards internet broadcasting. I am tired of paying for 50 channels of cable when I only watch 5 of them and one of my other favorite channels I can only get by paying another $25 a month for an extended plan.
    • Re:BBC TV (Score:3, Interesting)

      How can I pay a TV tax from the US to view this?

      Of course BBC America shows commercial in the US.
      • Re:BBC TV (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:03PM (#13409533)
        Well, I imagine if there are enough Americans to vote to rescind that pesky "Declaration of Independance" thing, something could be worked out....
        • Re:BBC TV (Score:3, Funny)

          by LazyBoy ( 128384 )
          Well, I imagine if there are enough Americans to vote to rescind that pesky "Declaration of Independance" thing, something could be worked out....
          Well, we voted Bush in twice. That's a start.
    • Re:BBC TV (Score:2, Interesting)

      by adamstew ( 909658 )
      I am assuming you are living in the UK, however, I've heard in the rumor mills that the USA FCC is working on forcing the cable and satelite TV companies to "un bundle" the TV channels, so people can pay only so much per channel, and not have to order all the channels in order to get the 2-7 that they really want to watch. ...But of course the cable and sat companies are going to fight this to the death also.
      • Re:BBC TV (Score:3, Informative)

        by LocalH ( 28506 )
        It's not the cable and satellite providers who are responsible for that, it's the programming providers who force the cable and satellite providers to get X number of channels in order to get things like ESPN.
    • If you go look at the broadband links, there is a note saying that its free if you are in the UK, and you have to subscribe if you are not. I tried subscribing. Its a Real Networks subscription. I paid my money and signed up, downloaded the subscription player and went to look at the BBC content -- you still can't get the content linked to on the BBC website, you have to go through the Real subscription channel, fighting the pop-up adds and general garbage all the way. I found the BBC news -- which is re
    • I wouldn't, I live in the UK so have seen The Mighty Boosh stream, it's not worth the bandwidth or time.
      A realmedia radio streams at 44.1Kbps is "enough", 80Kbps for video is just plain unwatchable.
    • Re:BBC TV (Score:3, Interesting)

      by b1t r0t ( 216468 )
      I am tired of paying for 50 channels of cable when I only watch 5 of them and one of my other favorite channels I can only get by paying another $25 a month for an extended plan.

      Isn't $25 a month what Giganews now charges for unlimited downloading? Drop the crappy cable, and learn how to download binaries and watch .AVI files. Get a nice TV with a VGA input (even 640x480 VGA is a vast improvement over S-video), and let other people be your Tivo. I haven't had cable for four years now (and the last year

    • Re:BBC TV (Score:4, Insightful)

      by funny-jack ( 741994 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @03:20PM (#13410190) Homepage
      I am tired of paying for 50 channels of cable when I only watch 5 of them...

      Here's a novel thought then: Stop it.

      Stop paying for 50 channels when you only want five. Don't pay for any channels. The fact that so many keep paying for it enables the cable companies to keep selling it without offering better options. If people like you stopped paying for a crappy service that isn't what they really want, the cable companies would be forced to change. Until then, expect the Cable TV status quo to continue.
  • About time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PunkOfLinux ( 870955 )
    It's really about time that somebody said 'we really shouldn't blame the people. I mean, there are much better ways of getting them their content.'
  • by OsirisX11 ( 598587 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:52PM (#13409409)

    Look! Pay attention all who hate on piracy and despise users for doing what they want:

    Google listens, gives everything away for free, yet is one of the richest and most loved companies.

    BBC is just now listening to what people say,
    and now we must give them respect for doing that.

    MPAA recently said that they could be wrong too, and that their movies sucked. They do.

    What a novel concept! Give people what they want and they won't hate you so much.

    Go with the flow instead of against it. Gah, haven't you people read the Tao?
  • Err... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:52PM (#13409410) Homepage
    K9, Doctor Who's lovable robotic dog...

    Or "Satan's Hound Of Comedy-Sidekick Hell", to give him his full title.

    I will never forgive the BBC, or indeed the world in general, for allowing the theme tune to K9 And Company to be inflicted on this poor unsuspecting child...


    • Screw K9*, the FA stated that Elisabeth Sladen was coming back as Sarah Jane Smith. That's much better news!

      * Figuratively of course.
  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:52PM (#13409411)

    As much as people from abroad take the piss for our "TV license", it's nice to have a media corporation act in the public's interest rather than being legally obliged to do everything in its power to make money for its shareholders, unlike typical broadcast corporations.

    "It's a great way of getting public service content, which people have already paid for, out to people in a different way," she said.

    Here's the crucial difference: the BBC think "they've already paid for it, how can we give them better access to what they have paid for?", and other corporations think "they've already paid for it, how can we make them pay for it again?".

    Compare and contrast with, say, the RIAA, who flatly deny that you buy music, rather "a license to listen", and run the upgrade treadmill - buy on vinyl, buy on cassette, buy on CD, buy on DVD-A, buy online - but tie it up in DRM so you'll still have to pay for a copy for the office and your car too.

    At some point, corporations should recognise that they've been more than compensated for the cost of producing it, and let it go. But they are unable to do so as long as shareholders are able to turn around and sue them for not milking the public for every penny they can.

    • As much as people from abroad take the piss for our "TV license",

      Man, being a Mexican stutend in UK, I find that license REALLY anoying... when I arrived to UK I did not have a TV in the place where I was living. Now I just moved to a new apartment where the person living there happened to have a TV (and payed those £10 monthly which I find quite high for public TV).
      Now I am living in the apartment and I do not watch TV, usually I see DVD's on my computer but someone told me that if I have the TV, th
    • Here's the crucial difference: the BBC think "they've already paid for it, how can we give them better access to what they have paid for?", and other corporations think "they've already paid for it, how can we make them pay for it again?".

      In the case of the BBC, it is a government program more than anything else. For others, then it is the corporation that originally funded the program and as such, I think they do have certain exclusive rights to make what money they can from it. Of course, I don't believ
      • And be burnt to CD...
      • by schon ( 31600 )
        DRM isn't a means to prevent an individual from using their music whereever they go, it is to reduce the redistribution to others that didn't pay for it.

        No, actually. DRM is a way to give corporations more control than they have by law.

        For example, Apple lets the same DRMed music be played on up to five computers.

        Wow, that's very magnanimous of them, isn't it? "Allowing" their customers, who have paid them the ability to exercise their fair use rights a *whopping* five times!

        And to think that some people
    • Just a thought. If the RIAA insists that you are only licensing the music, then there should be a law that requires them to state that on a CD package right on the front. It seems like false advertising to sell CDs in a store right alongside items like stereos that you do "buy" and "own".

      They should also be required to say on the package what rights you are actually licensing.

      • They don't insist this, with regards to normal CD purchases. It's only people on the Internet, confused by the practice of end user software licensing (which is not needed, btw, and only serves to confuse people) who think this.
    • Corporations are out to make a profit. As such they can never be expected to turn down the chance to suck more money out of their customers. The only way to make corporations stop a dishonest business proactice is to make that practice illegal, and to properly enforce those laws.
    • But they are unable to do so as long as shareholders are able to turn around and sue them for not milking the public for every penny they can.
      Do you have stock? Do you have some fund or investment plan or retirement plan or ....
      It's amazing how many people are whining about the shareholders demanding higher revenue causing less jobs or inferior products or whatever while they or their parents or neighbours are shareholders themselves whom start whining the moment stock prices are dropping.
      Blame the mana
  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:54PM (#13409428) Homepage
    Although most of time getting stuff for free is the goal. In this case, its fans wanting to see the new show in the first case. In this case the pirates or a good percentage of them would probably pay to buy the video/dvd etc.. I could be wrong but some of that BBC stuff isn't even available in the states, forcing die-hard fans into pirating.

    Piracy for movies and songs that have been around in the market for a while, is all about getting it for free. These folks probably wouldn't pay no matter what.

    There is talk about releasing dvds at the same time as movies in theaters. Seeing as a DVD costs about as much as 2 tickets, I think it might help with group 1, but not with the "i'm never going to pay" group.

    • Sounds like the piracy anime fans have been doing for years.
      • Lots of anime fans do this, not just the ones that like piracy anime. Piracy anime is pretty good though. There's Captain Harlock, Teki wa Kaizoku, arguably Tenchi Muyo (Ryoko is a pirate), One Piece, Sol Bianca, Porco Rosso (not about pirates per se, but there are a ton of pirates in it), and many more.

        It's sad that Hollywood doesn't do as many pirate movies as they used to.
    • Well, almost completely.

      Just because it isn't available in the US doesn't mean you are forced to pirate it. You could also do without. This is what you would do if it were a physical object that you wanted and no one would sell it to you.

      But I agree that there are times that people pirate (myself specifically) when they would gladly pay in the normal way if that option were available.

      Companies that put people in this position likely lose money they could have easily have captured.
  • It's not about the content, it's about the commercials.

    BBC, as a state-funded institution, is doing its job by achieving maximum reach. If it can expand its reach through online distribution, then it is doing a better job at fulfilling its state-funded mission.

    I'm sure ABC doesn't mind that thousands of people watched LOST in high-definition on their computer monitors via BitTorrent downloads. What ABC must mind is that these home-edited, advertising-free distributions of their content subvert their entire
    • I think you hit on a very important point.

      I don't think TV content producers care how their programs are distributed. They care about whether or not people are watching the advertisements.

      Let's face it; when it comes to any media outlet's business model, WE'RE the product being sold. Advertisers/sponsors pay very good money to media outlets to spread ads to as many people as possible.

      It's natural that advertisers, and in turn broadcasters, are concerned by any technology that prevents the ad from getting to the consumer: hence Ted Turner's comments about channel-flippers being "thieves".

      I'd be willing to bed that for-profit broadcasters would embrace any technology that gives their programs (and more importantly, ADS) wider distribution. Things like Tivo and P2P distribution of ad-stripped programs is a direct threat to their business.
      • I don't think TV content producers care how their programs are distributed. They care about whether or not people are watching the advertisements.

        Not quite. They don't care whether people watch the adverts. They care whether they can tell their advertisers "we have [x] number of people watching on a Friday night, and they are likely to be of [y] age, with [z] amount of disposable income".

        So even if everybody who illegally downloaded their programmes watched the adverts, it would still matter to t

  • by earthlingpink ( 884677 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:56PM (#13409452) Homepage
    The Beeb has been talking about doing this for a while (and trials have apparently started). It will be interesting to see if they can allow non-UK residents access to such a service.

    It's not a technological issue preventing this; it's actually the BBC's Royal Charter, which states that any overseas venture has to be paid for with money that is not derived from the license fee (also, there could be potential international copyright issues; however, the fact that the World Service broadcasts music, amongst other things, to the four corners of the world suggests that the BBC is in a position where it can come to reasonable agreements with copyright holders).

    So on that basis, a serious question: how many people outside of the UK would be willing to pay for access to BBC programming over the web?

    • Re: TV license fee (Score:3, Informative)

      by deinol ( 210478 )
      I'd be willing to pay the same TV license fee that everyone in the UK pays. Only seems fair.

      I want to watch Doctor Who, and right now the only way I can do it is over the internet.
    • So on that basis, a serious question: how many people outside of the UK would be willing to pay for access to BBC programming over the web?
      While the quality of their programs are usually good, their TV programming sucks mostly. I prefer the Canvas (Belgium TV) programming. They show the best the BBC has to offer but with a better schedule.
      Having said that, I would love the pay for easy to use, high quality, iTunes like DRM (nog **AA like DRM) visual content on a pay per episode/show/season base.
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:56PM (#13409453) Journal
    We won, fair and square, almost 250 years ago, and yet they just keep trying to undermine our way of life here in the US. This type of economic warfare will not go unnoticed by our leaders. When the poor and infirm media executives can barely afford to feed their families, and have to go begging on the street for face-lift and breast augmentation money, there will be action. As Americans, we shouldn't have to put up with this kind of communistic pandering to the "people". We have the miltary might to thrash you again...don't test us!

    (remember to post AC, remember to poast AC, remember to post AC...)
  • Beeb is *big* online (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NigelJohnstone ( 242811 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:57PM (#13409460)
    Take a look, their online part is he 11th most popular English language site: g&lang=en []

    They're ahead of CNN, ahead of NBC, Fox all the USA networks, all print media. They're even ahead of Fastclick (the web advertising network!).

    You gotta be impressed at how they've grasped the Internet.

  • refreshing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tero ( 39203 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:58PM (#13409475)
    If only other media companies would pick this up!

    Next thing we need is a global service - I understand BBC limiting itself to UK to begin with, it is financed with UK tax money after all, however I really would like to see the day when broadcasters realize the power of global audience.. most companies are already global, and I would think the likes of Coca Cola, Nokia, Sony and Microsoft would see the possibilies of global marketing and the money they'd save/make by running their advers with something like that.

    The superduper DRM schemes and limiting products to special markets only (through DVD regions for example) seems like a very odd and counter-productive thing to do from a global point of view.

    Maybe what I'm asking for is utopia and maybe the current money flow is enough to keep us inprisoned to strange regional marketing schemes for years to come.. but maybe some day we consumers get the point through.. here's to hoping!
  • by Samir Gupta ( 623651 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:59PM (#13409489) Homepage
    Ever notice how nowadays, almost all major movies are simultaneously released worldwide -- or at the most, within a few days?

    Before Internet piracy took off, movies would be delayed for months before overseas release.

    And I would guess that broadband ISPs, hard drive makers, CD /DVD media or burner manufacturers, PC makers in general have also benefitted enormously over the past few years due to illicit copying, These technologies -- all with legitimate non-piracy applications -- are now inexpensive ubiquitous. Had it not been for piracy, I'd submit it wouldn't be the case today.

    I'm not claiming it's justifiable morally, but it's not all 100% evil.
  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @01:59PM (#13409494)
    put Benny Hill [] online..

    Thanks Beeb...

    • Oh, admit it - you just want to see boobies and the Puritans on this side of the pond don't want you to. (Sorry, I only saw one episode of Benny Hill, when I was an early teen, and boobies is all I remembered)
      • Absolutely we want boobies.. Boobies = Mmmmm good!

        And yes, the Puritans over here are very anal about it all. I have to admit though, I am against pornography on TV or the internet where little eyes could stumble across it. Benny Hill though, was/is not porno, it's mature/adult entertainment, and should be shown during a time frame that young eyes don't happen onto it.
        Leave kids to be kids, there's plenty of time for them to be adults WHEN THEY BECOME ADULTS...
        I say this as a father and a grandfather..

        • I am against [boobies] where little eyes could stumble across it.

          Ahh, so you had your infant children blindfolded before they were fed, did you?
  • by ndansmith ( 582590 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:00PM (#13409505)
    . . . I'd rather be able to download the media via bittorrent (even with commercials) rather than watch it streaming from a BBC server. Perhaps once the BBC realizes the expense (in terms of bandwidth) of streaming all their programs to a wide audience they will offer downloads via bittorrent.
    • The BBC peer directly with UK ISPs and, indeed, the broadband streaming is, as I understand it, coming from a box inside your ISP hence why ISPs in this country advertise their compatibility with the BBC broadband video player.

      If you don't like streaming there is nothing to stop you dumping the stream with mplayer.
  • When will K-9 get his own spin-off series again?
  • by zymano ( 581466 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:07PM (#13409569)
    IS the BBC greedy or are cable networks not wanting it ?
    • "IS the BBC greedy or are cable networks not wanting it?"

      I'd say a combination of both.

      BBC Worldwide Americas (BBCWA) - the licensing arm of the BBC in this region - reportedly wanted the SciFi Network to pony up $1 million per episode for the rights to televise NewWHO in the United States. That's far more than what the fees were charged to CBC of Canada or any of the other markets NewWHO is being televised in. SciFi said "no" and decided to plow the money into more of their *shlock* "original pictures" i
  • What is the reason for not putting Doctor Who on BBC America?
  • little britan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crabpeople ( 720852 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:12PM (#13409607) Journal
    If not for bittorrent, i would never know the joys of little britain [] (basically kids in the hall but british). this show has perminantly enhanced my life i believe. Hopefully the BBC will be smart and allow users outside UK to download from BT (i loath streaming). Note to any bbc'ers reading this. I will pay for it per month. I find the quality of BBC programming, to be astounding.

    Recent finds

    The Power of nightmares []

    Global Dimming []

    The Private life of plants []

    If drugs were legal []

    also things like little britian and dr who. I would say that i download more BBC content than content from any other company/org. If this were provided for say 20 dollars a month, for fast not dead at 98.2% torrents, i would happily stop using the free ones.

    BBC advances humanity once again.
  • The power of honesty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cloud K ( 125581 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:14PM (#13409632)
    This is why the Beeb quite simply 'rock' and why the license fee is worth every penny.

    Imagine if the RIAA or MPAA were in their shoes. "RAWWWWRRR!! SUE!!!! DIE!!!111!1one" - but the Beeb are different. They actually listen and take a pro-active approach. Instead of shouting at people for... ahem... "pirating" their show they ask themselves why and what they can do to *persuade* people not to or to do something even better that prevents people from needing to in the first place.

    Heck, they even have a show (Points of View) where they allow people to blantantly and openly slag them off and read out the letters on air. Okay if someone's being a numpty then they'll just turn around and say "don't be silly." But often someone comes up with a valid point, and the appointed representative holds his hands up and says "yes you're right. Here's our apology and here's what we're going to do to prevent it happening in future"

    You don't get that from many companies. One that actually listens to its customers is so worth it...

    Of course they also get bonus points for inventing the BBC Micro... and BBC News Online which everyone around the world like to read... and embracing open source... and...
    • by rjw57 ( 532004 ) *
      Well Acorn invented the BBC micro but the BBC's efforts to educate the populous about the 'micro revolution' in the early eighties are a fine example of how the BBC can actually help the country.
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:15PM (#13409642) Journal
    My first thought as I read the beginning of the article was that the BBC would go on a witch-hunt against P2P and perhaps internal leaks. A little further in and I am still quite amazed that they've taken such an informed and tolerance approach. In the days where the makers of such technology are sued, and the users sued en-masse... it's very nice indeed to see that somebody actually gets it

    If this service becomes available outside of the UK I think I'd probably be quite interested in signing up as I do like a lot of the BBC content.
  • by Thumper_SVX ( 239525 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:19PM (#13409683) Homepage
    The BBC has long held with the idea that the content they produced should be as available as possible, at least to the British people. This is interesting in that it marks a step away from the idea of being UK-only focused (at least potentially).

    Now, as an ex pat myself I still find myself drawn to BBC programming; partly becuase I still find the English accents more "comfortable" than American for certain types of TV, but mostly because I find the general quality of writing and acting tends to be better. US TV is awfully focused on "How can we sell something to the public using the ruse of a drama", while the BBC has always subscribed to the notion "Let's entertain our people with good drama." This leads to a lot of good quality American TV shows that eventually pander too much to advertisers and/or "consumer advocate groups" and as such tend to eventually target at the lowest common denominator of the audience. This is why subsequent seasons of many TV shows seem to become progressively worse than the last.

    This isn't really just an American phenomenon; I see this in some British TV shows as well, but in general it seems more prevalent in the US. Perhaps that because there are more hours of TV produced, more channels or something... I haven't really performed any sort of analysis; just my observations.

    Getting back on topic though I have to say that I enjoy BBC content and would gladly pay an annual fee (like the license fee) for unlimited and unfettered access to this content. To me it would be better value than most of the crap I get on my satellite TV and never watch... and BBC America doesn't really count because many of the shows pre-date my moving to this country (10 years ago), and those that are more recent are often repeated incessantly and thus lose some of their "luster". A subscription to content would allow me to grab content on my broadband connection as I want to see it, then dump it to the hard drive of my MythTV box for viewing on the family television. Better than crowding around a monitor and just as comfortable as sitting watching regular TV.

    I can't be the only person out there to be able to count the number of programs they actually watch on American TV on the fingers of one hand... not to mention being able to put my finger on what I consider quality TV because it is so different from all the other chaff on TV.
  • Award winning documentaries, always impartial in news
    and no difference when the OS issues came became an issue.

    When the Linux users complained about not beeing able to
    listen to online radio provided for windows media player, BBC
    reacted and started to [] support Linux users as well .

    Its good to see these wonderful public service freethinkers
    go at it again - this time to figth piracy the democratic way!
  • Uitzending gemist (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quarkness ( 48056 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:24PM (#13409738) Homepage
    All content from Dutch public channels have been freely available for all at [] (missed broadcast) since the last two years or so. Everything is available the day after the broadcast and news are bulletins even sooner available.
  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @02:40PM (#13409884) Homepage
    yep, thats a new record for initials in a post, but I have to remark that this is very similar to KCRW in Los Angeles, california, USA.

    They are at the forefront of podcasting radio shows to the public. They were one of the firsts to simulcast on the web as well. I do not find it suprising that this forward thinking website that caters to a intelligent demographic is also a public broadcasting station tied to NPR (national public radio).

    I hope this is a boon for public broadcasting in geenral.... great ideas!
  • I doubt major media distributors will pick up with this. And even if they do, it might be too late.

    As most tech-savy users realize, a media revolution might start with concepts like podcasting with bittorrent []. Maybe it's time for independent movies to do it this way instead of dvd rental based with the Netflix-like providers. They are still being ripped-off. We need to cut the middle man.

    Google, where are you? ;)

  • ... someone gets it! :-)
  • by molemcd ( 910504 ) on Friday August 26, 2005 @03:21PM (#13410200)
    politics as with some altruistic desire to serve the greater good of the more technically inclined on this planet. The recent hatchet wielding internally was specifically to allow the organisation to build a "war chest" to spend on internet broadcasting and the like, this is part of the skewed view that the BBC should be driven by a very narrow elite of it's more technical congregation rather than getting the rest of it's house in order and providing a better service to those UK license fee payers that do not (and if some research is to be believed, never will) have internet access and also still do not have access to the much praised (mostly by BBC management) digital channels. It's worth mentioning that those digital channels came as a result of a commercial operation (ITV digital) taking the risk and failing, mostly due to the lunacy of spending more than the GDP of many small nations on Football rights. If the BBC were to be more canny about this they should let the venture capitalists and tech pioneers take the risks and come in once the platform is stable rather than taking huge risks with license fee payers money which would be better served making content rather than developing platforms or paying for bandwidth.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Friday August 26, 2005 @03:39PM (#13410316)
    I want to watch the New Dr. Who. I even want to give the BBC money as I think it's a fine thing they are doing.

    While simulcasting on the web is a nice step, just let me download the episode and give you money! Otherwise I'll complete the one step I can - downloading the episode - and then PERHAPS buying the DVD later after I've already watched all the episodes. Simulcast is just not anywhere near as convieninent as downloading, even if I am able to view it which I doubt very much not being a UK citizen.

    With Battlestar Galactica I had the same issue. I wanted to watch the show in HD but that was impossible on TV in the US (at le4ast with my cable) - so I was forced to seek avenues other than TV to watch it. When they released the DVD I bought it, which as far as I'm concerned closes the loop. But I would have also happily paid to download those episodes as well, and probably still bought the DVD anyway for the extras and convienience of storage.

    The one thing every content provider needs to do right now is open up a channel for payment, at the very least saying "I downloaded this and my payment precludes you from suing me. Enjoy the extra money you would not have seen otherwise".

  • As good Slashdot and Digg readers ( []) , we know that word on the street is to expect an iPod Video model to debut sometime perfect for the Christmas 2005 holiday buying season. Word is that Apple is looking for video content for such a device.

    If you'd like to see the NewWHO series available for digital distribution through iTunes (and for iPod Video and iPod Photo/Color models), then let Apple know by writing to them and asking that they actively pursue acquiring digital distribution rights here in the U.S. Such a distribution agreement would create buzz not only for the allegedly upcoming iPod Video unit but also buzz for the new series here in America.

    Write to Apple here: []

    If you'd like TiVo to take a look at a digital distribution agreement for broadband equipped TiVos, write to TiVo here: []

    I'm including TiVo as an option since it is well known that TiVo wants to actively pursue digital downloads for their machines and they are currently testing downloads of IFC Channel original content (Greg the Bunny, etc.) through their current beta tests.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant