Ofcom has rejected the BBC’s request to introduce encryption to Freeview to limit the illegal copying of high-definition TV shows, until issues raised by organisations including the Open Rights Group are addressed.
The BBC is trying to change the Freeview multiplex licence to allow copy protection technology so shows on its HD channel, which will be rolled out nationally from next month, do not become the target of pirates.
Ofcom has received about 200 submissions about the Freeview HD proposals and admitted that a number of issues had been raised, such as the impact on competition in the market and “fair use” of content interpretations, which the BBC must now address.
Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, called the proposal a clear attempt to “enact a form of encryption through the backdoor. Such action would permit the BBC to dictate who may provide equipment which accesses the channels it broadcasts – a clear violation of the free-to-air principle and an improper interference in the market by the BBC,” he said in a letter to Ofcom.
Ofcom has not given a deadline for the BBC to supply additional information, although the corporation is expected to respond quickly, with the media regulator refusing the change to the Freeview multiplex “without giving these issues further consideration.”