[mythtv] BBC Freeview HD encoded/licensed EPG content proposal - comments due today!

Charles Mason charlie.mas at gmail.com
Wed Sep 16 21:41:24 UTC 2009

On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 9:58 PM, TJ <ubuntu at tjworld.net> wrote:
> I've just spotted the EFF's reporting of the BBC proposal to OFCOM to
> vary the public service broadcast license to allow the BBC to compress
> the EPG for the post-switchover Freeview HD DTT multiplex (DVB-T2 and
> MPEG-4).
> The proposal was sent to OFCOM at the end of August and OFCOM invited
> comments on 3rd September with **responses due by today**, 16th
> September.
> The effect would be to make the EPG unavailable -a crude means of
> content-protection a.k.a. DRM being pushed on the BBC by
> 'rights-holders'.
> http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/tvlicensing/enquiry/
> The BBC would license the tables required to uncompress a
> Huffman-encoded EPG only to 'manufacturers' who agree to implement
> content protection a.k.a. DRM measures and would withhold the Freeview
> logo endorsement from those that don't, amongst other steps.
> The link to the PDF of the proposal on the OFCOM site:
> http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/tvlicensing/enquiry/ofcom_bbc.pdf
> I've seen no discussion of this and how it might affect open-source
> projects in the future, but it seems on first reading to imply that
> projects like MythTV would then have to rely on 3rd-party programme
> information sources, or figure out the Huffman look-up tables being
> used.
> "Ofcom invites comments on this amendment to the licence. Comments
> should be received by Ofcom by 16th September 2009. Any comments should
> be directed to:"
> Andrew.Dumbreck at ofcom.org.uk
> Ofcom
> 3rd Floor
> Riverside House
> 2a Southwark Bridge Road
> London, SE1 9HA
> UK
> Tel direct +44 20 7981 3796
> Tel operator +44 20 7981 3000

This appears to be very serious in terms of Freeview EPG support. It
may be possible to break this but from a technical point of you
because we will know what the plain text should be. Once these are
deployed it would be awkward for them to keep changing the key
regularly so once its been cracked we can all benefit from it.

However from a moral point of view this is just wrong. As a tactic to
stop piracy this is pointless because once a single copy reaches the
Peer to Peer networks it globally available instantly. This measure
does nothing to stop Myth TV or any other DRM free application from
recording the content it just inconveniences the very people who pay
for the BBC.

If content companies have such an issue with free to air HD broadcasts
they shouldn't be selling their content to the BBC or any other free
to air broadcaster.

We really need to make some noise about this issue as well as
contacting Offcom directly. It sets a dangerous precedent if this goes

Charlie M

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