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BBC, Ofcom DRM Ploy Uncovered

The BBC has asked Ofcom for permission to broadcast DRM locked TV programming in the UK, it has been revealed.

According to an investigation carried out by The Guardian (opens in new tab), in 2009 the BBC had asked Ofcom for permission to put DRM locks on its high definition video content, which is produced by the license fee that the UK public pays.

The secret documents unearthed by the Guardian revealed that the UK public along with several public interest groups and activists and consumer organisations were against the proposal. However, even after the BBC put up an unconvincing case for offering DRM locked video content, Ofcom approved it nonetheless.

The two organisations believe that the DRM locking is in favour of the UK public despite its mass opposition and have even failed to clarify why they choose to go ahead with the proposal, claiming that it was in public interest not to know so.

The BBC proposal to Ofcom was made public but both the organisations had removed some parts of the proposal, which they later deemed as ‘commercially sensitive'.

"The Ofcom report was submitted in confidence because it contained commercially sensitive information regarding the BBC's negotiations with rights-holders. Such negotiations are standard practice when agreeing commercial contracts. These contracts enable the BBC to provide audiences with a wider choice of programmes than would otherwise be possible," the BBC had said in statement.

However, The Guardian was able to procure the missing parts that were not revealed at that time. There is in fact nothing ‘commercially sensitive' about the missing parts of the Ofcom report but it reveals how flimsy a case BBC had submitted to Ofcom, just to attract US TV companies in the UK.

Ravi Mandalia

Ravi Mandalla was ITProPortal's Sub Editor (and a contributing writer) for two years from 2011. Based in Ahmedabad, India, Ravi is now the owner and founder of Parity Media Pvt. Ltd., a news and media company, which specializes in online publishing, technology news and analysis, reviews, web site traffic growth, web site UI. Ravi lists his specialist subjects as: Enterprise, IT, Technology, Gadgets, Business, High Net Worth Individuals, Online Publishing, Advertising, Marketing, Social Media, News, Reviews, Audio, Video, and Multi-Media. He has also previously worked as Dy. Manager - IT Security at (n)Code Solutions.