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BBC Episodes Legally Available Via Peer To Peer 212

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the drink-the-kool-aid dept.
Kript writes "According to the BBC they are going to make a number of their shows available on the Azureus network. A number of old favorites will be available such as Red Dwarf, Doctor Who and even Little Britain."
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BBC Episodes Legally Available Via Peer To Peer

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  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @01:36PM (#17314646)
    I have not RTFA. I'm wondering if Warner Home Video will lay the hammer down on me if I want to watch Red Dwarf in this manner...being in the U.S. and Warner Home Video being the U.S. distributor of many BBC programs.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @01:39PM (#17314686) Homepage Journal
      I'm wondering if Warner Home Video will lay the hammer down on me if I want to watch Red Dwarf in this manner...being in the U.S. and Warner Home Video being the U.S. distributor of many BBC programs.

      You do not have an agreement with Warner not to purchase Red Dwarf from another source. If the beeb has an agreement with them not to distribute it to you, then they have something to talk about, but it doesn't involve you.

      • by pbhj (607776)
        I'd be surprised if Warner doesn't get a license that excludes other suppliers from licensing the same material for airing within a similar time-frame (measured in years). Such a license would normally exclude the BBC from licensing themselves to show the material in a competing manner. Wonder how they'll get around their current licenses?
        • by fm6 (162816)
          Wonder how they'll get around their current licenses?
          They won't. Presumably the new distribution network has measures that prevent it from working outside the UK. Hard to imagine how that would work, but it must be there, or the Beeb's licensees will make them shut it down.
    • by jfengel (409917)
      That's an excellent question. Warner's contract with the BBC probably makes them the exclusive US distributor. If the BBC allows downloading from the US, then they may be in violation of the contract.

      I'd love to believe that the BBC's lawyers have thought about this first.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @01:37PM (#17314650) Homepage Journal

    It won't be available for free on Azureus, it will be a DRM-infested pay-download on Azureus' pay service, Zudeo [zudeo.com], and they haven't even decided what they're charging.

    • That's fine. p2p (and Bittorrent, specifically) solves a major bandwidth issue for content distribution. In fact, releasing these shows on common p2p services would really make it difficult to discern legal from illegal content on these services. How do I know if the Dr. Who I'm downloading is authorized or not? How do I know if BBC authorized Dr. Who at all?
      • by eln (21727) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:05PM (#17315012) Homepage
        p2p (and Bittorrent, specifically) solves a major bandwidth issue for content distribution.

        Yah, it solves the issue of media companies who want to charge money for content but don't want to pay for the distribution of that content. If I purchase a DVD, I am paying for the content, and the distribution of that content (getting the DVD to the store so I can purchase it) is paid by the content provider (albeit rolled into the cost of the DVD). Now, thanks to P2P I can pay the same price for the same content, only this time without a physical copy, and I have to pay for the distribution (bandwidth) myself. How is that a good deal?

        If they want to provide this content at a discount that reflects the fact that they're getting distribution of their product for free, then maybe it would be a good deal. As it is now, though, it's just content providers getting something for nothing.
        • by orasio (188021) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:41PM (#17315474) Homepage
          Or maybe it just lowers the barrier to entry of the market.
          Right now the money makers are distributors. And you get the to choose your stuff stuff mostly from distributors (you buy channel packages).
          With this kind of deal, other content providers who have no deals with big distributors could enter the game, and the competition could be over content, and maybe price, and not over distribution channels. It could be a nice thing for the guy who actually buys the stuff.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @01:44PM (#17314750) Journal
      It's also only available in the US. Those of us in the UK, who are paying £130 to the BBC each year and funded many of these programs when they were originally made would quite like to be able to download them too, especially since the BBC Charter says they must do whatever they can to make their material available to the British public...
      • by illegalcortex (1007791) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:44PM (#17315530)
        the BBC Charter says they must do whatever they can to make their material available to the British public

        Does it say "for free"? Not flaming you, just curious. Or at least, does it say "at no additional cost other than your license"? I'm also curious as to how this relates to BBC shows that air in the US on public TV at a later time. For example, they air tons of old British comedies (including that hilarious EastEnders show) that are several years out of date. Am I right in guessing these episodes aren't currently available in the UK? I wonder how that fits with the aforementioned duty.
      • Actually, you're most likely to end up getting them for free if you live in the UK, via the iPlayer project...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:51PM (#17315608)
        Patience, dear boy, patience :)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPlayer [wikipedia.org]

        It IS coming - just rather slowly. It's shame that it is going to be WMP based DRM, but you have to appease the Indies/Film companies, etc, somehow.

        There is going to be the Open Archive some time next year too, with old BBC content being brought online.

        Next year is going to be a BIG year for the BBC online, should all go well. One shouldn't underestimate the complexities of a project such as iPlayer - it's probably the biggest Internet based software project in the UK at the moment, and the BBC really has to deliver correctly first time, otherwise there will (rightly) be uproar from the license fee payer.

        But hey, it's all a step in the right direction!
    • It may not be what you hoped reading the headline but it's far from misleading. The headline and article neither made mention of the file format of the download nor discussed the how free the download would be. It also didn't mention availability. You read too much into the summary and now you're mad at Slashdot that ideas you added on your own aren't available. The summary is very short on detail but the detail it provides is correct.
      • The summary is very short on detail but the detail it provides is correct.

        I didn't say it was incorrect. I said it was misleading. The implication when you say something is available via P2P is that it's available for free.

        It also says it's going to be available on Azureus, which is strictly incorrect since Azureus is a client, not a network. Correct would be to say it would be available via Azureus - but that would be incorrect too, since it will be on their new network and require their new client.

        My p

        • "The implication when you say something is available via P2P is that it's available for free."

          How is that the implication? P2P is a distribution method. It has nothing to do with the cost of the item. If you have been misled, then make a mental note that P2P != free or you'll be getting misled a lot in the near future since some movie studios are now partnering up with various companies who create BT clients to presumably distribute content.

          I suppose you have a point on the second comment, but when I rea
          • How is that the implication? P2P is a distribution method. It has nothing to do with the cost of the item.

            *waves hands* yes yes, you and I both know what it means. However, only one of us is apparently in touch with the public. You know, like in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back? "Here is the pulse. And here is your finger, far from the pulse..." The fact is that the rest of the world considers P2P to mean "free shit I can download and hopefully not get sued for".

            The headline would have better been written "

            • "However, only one of us is apparently in touch with the public."

              Indeed. Only one of us has been seeing all the stories pouring in about movie studios planning to make very unfree content available over P2P.

              "it's not on the "Azureus Network" - there is no such thing!"

              No, but assuming by saying "the Azuereus Network" we mean some network owned by Azureus is no further a stretch than your original assuption that "the Azureus network" refers to the Azureus bittorrent client. That's not called the "Azureus ne
          • And all of those partnerships will fail within a year.
    • Awesome! So the BBC gets you to do some of the work of distributing their content... and you get to pay them for the right?

      If companies want to use P2P to distribute restricted content I can only think of one way it would be really accepted. Charge the customer a nominal fee for the content but don't bill it for x days... during that time credit some $ back to the customer based on the # of MB re-distributed from their PC to other paying customers. Someone with a nice fast upstream connection who is will
  • Just how hard is it to make anything available on P2P. It just has to be digital, interesting, and you promise not to sue for distributing it. Even big companies can usually manage this much.
  • Good for the US (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smallfries (601545) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @01:38PM (#17314662) Homepage
    But this is not what they promised to do. As a British Licensefee payer I expect them to open up their content on UK filesharing networks, as they promised. Offering DRM'd content to overseas markets is not part of their charter. Making money should be a secondary concern to their primary purpose - delivering good tv to a British audience.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by camperdave (969942)
      I live in a constitutional monarchy and a Commonwealth Realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as the reigning monarch. As such, she is our head of state as much as she is yours. Since the BBC derives its charter through her authority, and since her authority extends to my country, I expect the BBC to deliver good British TV to this side of the pond as well.

      We could send you episodes of Corner Gas, Holmes on Homes, and Anne of Green Gables, if you wish.
    • Making money should be a secondary concern to their primary purpose - delivering good tv to a British audience.
      By making money out of the spin-offs from the broadcasts you receive for the ludicrously low price of 130 GBP the BBC is able to pay for things like 'Life On Earth' and 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

      It is beholden on the BBC to chase up any money raising venture within the confines of its charter, or, you're left with the choice between ads or rubbish.
      • by Cederic (9623)

        I think you'll find that 'Life On Earth' is going to be a considerable source of profit for the BBC. A significant portion of BBC revenue comes from its Natural History unit.

        (Losing 'Strictly Come Dancing' can only be a good thing.)

        Apart from that, you're quite right. Red Dwarf is available on DVD already, so why not make it available online, and use a distribution mechanism that minimises BBC hosting costs.

        People in the UK can continue to watch it on digital TV, if they have access (most people do) or buy
    • by kabocox (199019)
      But this is not what they promised to do. As a British Licensefee payer I expect them to open up their content on UK filesharing networks, as they promised. Offering DRM'd content to overseas markets is not part of their charter. Making money should be a secondary concern to their primary purpose - delivering good tv to a British audience.

      Um, before you Brits start complaining about your beloved BBC; think alittle. You had to pay a license fee. Those in the US, the EU, and the rest of the world didn't pay t
      • When they started aiming at charter renewel a few years ago they came up with their original promises for releasing digital content. Sure, DRM'd crap for foreign markets is a part of that, but they also promised legal peer-to-peer downloads for UK residents. There are several ways to accomplish that.

        One difference is that the stuff that residents are interested in is not current programs. It's the back catalogue. I wouldn't mind if they distribute some kind of customised BitTorrent that is locked to uk ip a
    • by IANAAC (692242)

      Making money should be a secondary concern to their primary purpose - delivering good tv to a British audience.


      But as someone living in the US who enjoys good good british tv, I'd gladly pay good money. You have some good shows that are unavailable to us. My current favorite is Catherine Tate. Yes, she's all over Youtube, but if I could download high-def episodes, all the better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by D-Cypell (446534)
        My current favorite is Catherine Tate. Yes, she's all over Youtube

        What a fucking liberty!!!
    • The USA nearly invaded the BBC studios when they started putting BBC-recorded concert recordings online for free. Sheesh, the legal wrangling and the threats were not insignificant, mostly on the grounds that the BBC was being "anticompetitive" by making stuff available for, well, people.

      At the moment, there are major attempts to define P2P as ipso facto piracy in many countries, the US included. It will also seriously impact attempts by some US companies to cripple access to British programs in the US. As

  • Article implies there might be a charge for these downloads (I'm guessing an open P2P but you need to buy a key to watch it). That would suck..
    • Then just get it off a standard torrent and don't give them anything. No one said you had to get it this way.

      What exactly "sucks" about paying for this? I can understand if it's outrageously priced, like CDs these days, but if it was a buck or two an episode it'd be cheaper than getting the DVDs and since you're not getting anything tangible, probably works out in the end.

      Might check it out myself if it's not too much; I've been meaning to see Red Dwarf for a while (since someone introduced it to me and N
      • Yea, I didn't mean I would mind paying for it. Just the typical pay for it seems to be heavily DRM loaded for $5. This would especially be true if its intended to be shared on p2p meaning your payment would only register it on one device.
  • That's ok though (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@@@remco...palli...nl> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @01:39PM (#17314692)
    I already have all Red Dwarf seasons on DVD, not that expensive and more than worth it :)
    But that's only my opinion.

    Smeghead ;)

    • The fact that you have them all on DVD makes $MY_USERNAME very angry.

      What should we do with them $MY_USERNAME?

      What? We could not do that... Who would clean up the mess?
  • "I tell you one thing. I've been to a parallel universe, I've seen time running backwards, I've played pool with planets, and I've given birth to twins, but I never thought in my entire life I'd taste an edible Pot Noodle."
    - Lister, Demons and Angels
  • It's a trap! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @01:49PM (#17314810) Homepage
    I don't have a TV license. I regularly get threatening letters from the collections agency asking me to turn myself in for my heinous crime.

    They got so bad at one point that I actually wrote to them refusing to partake in any further correspondence until they sent me a civil letter. They wrote back - with a threat about how large the fine will be when they haul me in.

    The fun part? I don't have a television. But I'm not telling them that until they ask politely. Yes, it's probably stupid and it's certainly obstinate but I refuse to be intimidated.

    Now, of course, with them making a move like this I actually feel like I might *want* to give them money. It's a pretty cool thing to do and I'm proud of the BBC for being forward looking and generally a great service. So that's what this is all about folks. They are just trying to shame me into paying up. The worked out what my buttons were and pushed them. As soon as I hand over the cash, the whole thing will go away. It's a freaking trap I tell you.

    Fortunately for all of you I'm holding out for them to switch to ogg for their radio streams before I buy a TV license. You should be safe to enjoy this content for another couple of decades. My present to all of you! /tinfoilhat
    • Excuse my Westpondlander ignorance, but what the hell is a TV license?
    • by loraksus (171574)
      I heard a while back they were using devices to detect some of the transformers or whatever in a TV. Wonder if they can track LCD / Plasma TVs...
      Not to avoid fees or anything....
  • I hope they make Balls of Steel available. That has to be the funniest show I've seen in months. The Bunny Boiler, Annoying Devil, Big Gay Folllwing and Alex's games are hilarious. Check YouTube out if you haven't seen the show yet.
  • Well I was all set to say YIPPI till I read it will be laden with DRM snot. NO thanks shit heads.
    • by cliffski (65094)
      Wow, such hostility. Are you british and upset that your licence fee funded the shows and you should have them free? or non british, and just reckon you were born with the right to have them for free anyway, while us lot pay for it?
  • Compu-a says........yes?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:10PM (#17315052)
    This would be the only way to actually deal with torrents. They're here, and they're here to stay. If they crack down on torrent sites, like they try now, something new will come into existance, if nothing else, people will post torrent hashes on usenet. It's not like you could technically stop the distribution of content.

    The only way to really deal with it is to give it some leeway while trying to make some revenue, somehow, out of it all. The fact that those files will be tacked down with DRM will surely keep this from flying, but generally the idea is a good one. It could've been done with a "members only" torrent tracker (where you gotta pay the BBC to become a member), with the torrent info only available on their tracker.

    THEN it is possible to crack down on sites offering that torrent, too, because the torrent hash itself is owned by the BBC, not by someone who just "allows" others to use it. It's their 'content', so to speak.

    Yes, that could've been a success. Devaluating it by adding enough DRM to weigh it down certainly doesn't help it.
  • People here on Slashdot in various countries make a connection with people in countries where services are offered. For example, I live in the U.S. I've quite like to see the programs from Channel 4 that they have available online. But that's currently U.K. only and is not likely to change. (I WANT to see Green Wing's Xmas Special) So, if someone in the U.K. is willing, we can establish private VPN connections between our machines and route specific traffic overseas via the VPN. Then it would be as if
  • "The titles will be protected by digital rights management software to prevent the programmes being traded illegally on the internet."

    ...no, I guess not. And it goes without saying that whatever stupid DRM format they come up with will only run on windows, so I couldn't use it even if I wanted to. Back to getting BBC shows from emule for me (got to get that Top Gear fix :)

  • Depending on the cost, this might be what many of us has been waiting for: a reasonable priced way to get Dr. Who. So far the Doctor has been one show that has not been packages as a series. Rather episodes have been put together into show, and the shows has been sold as if they were feature length major movies, that is at $20 a pop. All this while other popular show, like Are You Being Served, are sold at $100 for the complete set of series.

    I hope series are going to be put together into reasonably p

    • by RyatNrrd (662756)
      I like the way the BBC have been releasing Dr Who: this way I can have (for example) Vengence on Varos and Revelation of the Daleks for the cost of two DVDs, without shelling out for all the chaff (IMO) like Attack of the Cybermen and The Two Doctors. Most series of Dr Who had a couple of really good stories, and a number of low-budget fillers.
    • I can already just watch the BRAND NEW EPISODES on BBC America. I'm delighted to see that Christopher Eccleston is back from a yearlong hiatus and appearing in these BRAND NEW EPISODES, too.

      What?
  • From TFA: "The titles will be protected by digital rights management software to prevent the programmes being traded illegally on the internet."

    Overlooking the fact that they spelled "programs" incorrectly (this is, after all, for the US market), media outlets still don't "get it" that DRM is a non-starter with many consumers.
  • I went to the Azureus networks download site: http://www.zudeo.com/ [zudeo.com]

    The banner says Code name: ZUDEO powered by Azureus 3.0

    Copyright 2006 Azureus Inc

    I don't know if this is from the same people that brought us the open source Azureus Client, but it looks like it may be.

    First utorrent, now Azureus, What next.

  • and have no problem paying my license fee, purely on the basis of what it costs me and what I get.(although I dislike the fact I'm compelled to pay it merely for owning equipment capable of receiving the signal)
    Maybe partnering with Zudeo (or whoever) the BBC should roll the license fee out worldwide - $10 a month and you get access to their entire live and archived output. For a start it would reduce my license fee.
  • So, will we be getting a discount by uploading to other clients? After all, it's my upstream bandwidth.

    If not, what's to stop me from blocking the outbound connections or capping them at 1 byte/sec?

  • Hopefully (in a future "wave") we'll finally have episodes of Blake's 7 legally available in the states (instead of either bootlegging them or getting them in a PAL VHS tape or Region 2 DVD from the UK).
  • They said 'going to' nearly a year ago.
  • by speculatrix (678524) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @07:14PM (#17319410)
    it took me just a few minutes of guesswork to avoid having to use the zudeo software at all; I didn't install it. When you click to download, it saves a .jnlp file which is just an XML wrapper around a URL containing a torrent, then download the torrent and open it with a torrent downloader (shareaza will do nicely). It will save a file called .hdmov, which you just rename so it will open with Quicktime.

    Thus who needs zudeo's spyware?

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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