BBC iPlayer threatened by hackers

The BBC iPlayer will use Microsoft DRM technology - at least at first

The BBC 's long-awaited online media player won't be delayed according to reports. That's despite the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology behind the player being cracked. The BBC iPlayer is due to launch on 27 July and is controversially based around Microsoft's Windows Media Player including its proprietary DRM technology.

In a statement, the BBC said: "We know that some people can - and do - download BBC programmes illegally. This isn't the first piece of software to be hacked or bypassed. Nor will it be the last. No system is perfect. We believe that the overwhelming majority of licence-fee payers will welcome this service and will want to use it fairly."

FairUse4WM is a utility that can remove the copy protection from Windows Media Player content - and so it can remove the DRM from the iPlayer's content. DRM is used to make sure programmes are only available for 30 days once downloaded - or seven days after being viewed.

The utility first appeared last year. It was patched, then cracked again - causing broadcaster Sky to close down its Sky Movies download service for a time. According to ZDNet , it appeared again late last week and could be used to crack iPlayer content.

Windows XP

The BBC has come under fire since the player was first mooted over its lack of support for platforms other than Windows XP at launch. The Corporation has been stung by ever-intensive attacks from open source advocates and now the BBC Trust has agreed to meet the Open Source Consortium (OSC).

Quoted by BBC Technology, the Corporation's director of Future Media and Technology Ashley Highfield said: "I am fundamentally committed to universality, to getting the BBC iPlayer to everyone in the UK who pays their licence fee."

The BBC has always said it wanted to make the player platform agnostic, "but we have always started with the platform that reaches the most number of people and then rolled it out from there," added Highfield.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.