[mythtv-users] ofcom consultation on BBC/freeview HD DRM

Dan dansto.well+myth at gmail.com
Thu Feb 18 11:24:04 UTC 2010

My response to 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?":

Unfortunately not. The consultation document discusses compatibility
with open-source systems and considers that because some existing
linux-based freesat receivers "implement similar content management
technologies" that there is therefore no licensing issue which would
prevent open-source software from implementing the BBC's licensed
lookup table.

However this is mistaken. The assertion makes a confusion between an
open-source operating system (linux) and open-source software that
runs on top of the operating system. The operating system is
essentially irrelevant for this issue; it is the software which would
need to implement the algorithm in question, and the BBC's proposed
licensing requires an undertaking which is directly incompatible with
standard open-source licenses (such as the GPL and LGPL) which do not
permit the use of source code to have such undertakings enforced
(since that limits the freedom of use which the licenses are intended
to preserve).

Hence the proposed licensing limits the market, not for linux-based
receivers, but for receivers of any type which use open-source (eg GPL
or LGPL) software for the application layer. This of course limits
opportunities for commercial developments for startups using free
software as a basis, which is increasingly a very common way for
technology startups to develop their IP platform.


2010/1/22 Joseph Heenan <joseph at heenan.me.uk>:
> Hi all,
> There's now a public consultation on the BBCs proposal to add DRM to
> freeview DTT, which opened today:
> http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2010/01/22/ofcom_freeview_hd_drm_consultation/
> Consultation closes at the beginning of April.
> Although availability to open source is mentioned, it seems unlikely that
> the terms can be compatible with the GPL, hence preventing such content
> being view in mythtv.
> (It also seems like a bad idea to implement a UK specific system. It would
> be highly unlikely to actually prevent the HD content reaching the internet,
> making the additional complexity and expense completely unwarranted. Not to
> mention that the lack of such a system for SD content has caused zero
> issues.)
> summary:
> http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/content_mngt/summary/
> full doc:
> http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/content_mngt/condoc.pdf
> respond online:
> https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/content_mngt/howtorespond/form
> Joseph
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