Ofcom gives BBC HD copy protection the go ahead

DRM is a-go
DRM is a-go

Ofcom has backed the BBC's proposal to use DRM to protect some of its HD shows from multiple copying, with high value film and drama content set for a copying lockdown.

According to a statement by Ofcom, the BBC's decision to control the copying of some of its shows - something which was proposed back in January - was in the best interest of the broadcaster, noting: "Ofcom has concluded that the decision to accept the BBC's request will deliver net benefits to citizens and consumers by ensuring they have access to the widest possible range of HD television content on DTT."

The new ruling, which is a change to the multiplex license means that no restrictions will be placed on standard definition shows, but restrictions will be put in place for HD content as long as the BBC can "secure an effective content management framework on the HD Freeview platform".

Copy cats

According to Ofcom: "The BBC is proposing to licence the intellectual property required to gain access to the HD EPG data (Huffman lookup tables) free of charge and major receiver and integrated digital TV manufacturers are including content management in their HD Freeview products."

Essentially this means that viewers of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in high definition will be restricted to how many copies they can make of particular films and TV shows – something which affects those who have a Freeview HD set-top recorder.

A similar system is already put in place for those who have Freesat and DRM can already be found on the BW880 and BW780 Panasonic Blu-ray disc / Freeview HD recorders.

Content management

This standardisation of DRM over EPGs will annoy those who want to copy what they want how they want but it does mean that there will be a definite response to consumers about what they can and cannot record in HD.

Ofcom is also proposing that 'user friendly' consumer guide to content management which should be published on broadcasters' websites and made available to manufacturers and retailers.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.