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Television Media Communications The Internet Entertainment

Norwegian Broadcasting Sets Up Its Own Tracker 187

Posted by timothy
from the some-things-are-neutral dept.
eirikso writes with an interesting story from Norway; the state broadcaster there has decided to put up some of its content on BitTorrent. "The tracker is based on the same OpenTracker software that the Pirate Bay has been using for the last couple of years. By using BitTorrent we can reach our audience with full quality, unencrypted media files. Experience from our early tests show that if we're the best provider of our own content we also gain control of it."
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Norwegian Broadcasting Sets Up Its Own Tracker

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  • Umm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:54PM (#27114871)

    Experience from our early tests show that if we're the best provider of our own content we also gain control of it.

    Did I wake up in a wrong universe or something? People are actually thinking now?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. You are in the right universe.

      Just wait and see what happens to their control when they no longer want to provide something.

      • by Jurily (900488)

        Just wait and see what happens to their control when they no longer want to provide something.

        I think they meant "if it's already out there, at least make sure it's good quality". Presumably they know what happens to torrents in general if they're referring to TPB.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cormophyte (1318065)

          It may also mean that they recognize that if they distribute high quality files on bittorrent with a lot of bandwidth behind it (and maybe release it before anyone else has a chance to) that they can eventually slide a quick commercial in there and people will choose their file because they'll have been getting it fast, reliably, and looking great.

          • by aliquis (678370)

            I think much of it means that if people get used to getting most tv things they want from them they may not look into other sources, and that way effectively hinder them from getting the stuff they didn't wanted to (or more likely had the right to) share in the first place.

            I would believe most government run television providers to be willing to share their own stuff with everyone for free / for regular obligatory tv fee if there is one.

      • by BronsCon (927697)

        Uhm, they did say unencrypted files.

      • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Informative)

        by FaxeTheCat (1394763) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:32PM (#27115173)
        For their (our... it's the state that owns NRK) definition of control is defined on the website http://nrkbeta.no/the-nrkbeta-doctrine/ [nrkbeta.no] I think you will find that they have left "the old ways" and actually understand what the new reality is about.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by aliquis (678370)

          Would had been cool if they had choosen TPB instead of setting up their own tracker though, maybe they could had gotten a category of their own or something such.

          But it would be nice for the people behind TPB to say "well, see, at least NRK gets it .."

          • by Splab (574204)

            Well they are going to use TPB like it or not, that is pretty much the whole point of the defense in the trial - no one knows what tracker a torrent originated at, tpb just tracks them.

            • Well they are going to use TPB like it or not, that is pretty much the whole point of the defense in the trial - no one knows what tracker a torrent originated at, tpb just tracks them.

              I think you're a little confused about how it works. The tracker doesn't need to know where the *torrent file* came from to track them.

              TPB won't be tracking these downloads at all, unless someone redistributes edited or newly created .torret files pointing to TPB's tracker. But that won't obviously won't apply to anyone who downloads the torrent files from NRK directly.

            • by aliquis (678370)

              The point of defence is that whatever they do it's not illegal.

              The point you mention is just to say that "even if we would help with the actual downloads (for people using our tracker) people don't have to have found the other peers over our tracker."
              Together with things like "omg I'm not one of the people running TPB" and so on.

              As Lachlan said TPB tracks users of torrents which points to TPB, which NRKs wont since they will point to NRK instead.

              People obviously can take those torrent files and add TPB as h

    • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:51PM (#27115305)

      Did I wake up in a wrong universe or something? People are actually thinking now?

      Right universe, wrong country. It's been known to happen these "3rd world countries" that don't have public education systems designed to beat individuality out of people, starting with a morning salute to the flag, and ending in a cease and desist order to the cries of "oh my precious imaginary property!"

      • by Jurily (900488)

        Right universe, wrong country. It's been known to happen these "3rd world countries" that don't have public education systems designed to beat individuality out of people, starting with a morning salute to the flag, and ending in a cease and desist order to the cries of "oh my precious imaginary property!"

        I'll bite. Show me one other country that does this:

        Some weeks ago NRK - Norwegian Broadcasting put up one of the most popular shows in Norway on bittorrent. For free, with no DRM, no country restrictions.

        • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Informative)

          by poopdeville (841677) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:58PM (#27115367)

          Canada

        • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:36PM (#27115685)

          Finland. Our national broadcasting company (YLE) doesn't use BitTorrent but that is just a minor issue. All the shows shown on YLE will be online (for free, no DRM and no country restrictions) the day after they are shown on TV.

          • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Informative)

            by tapanitarvainen (1155821) on Monday March 09, 2009 @03:26AM (#27118533)

            All the shows shown on YLE will be online (for free, no DRM and no country restrictions) the day after they are shown on TV.

            Not quite everything shown: only their own productions, not foreign stuff they have to buy rights for.

            • Not quite everything shown: only their own productions, not foreign stuff they have to buy rights for.

              Which is expected. Their own products, is their own to do what they please. Foreign products are only licensed, as they should be.

        • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by eltaco (1311561) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @08:01PM (#27115901)
          The UK / BBC. Granted, it's not via torrents, but basically all their content is available via their page to watch online. These are restricted to certain regions though.
          Also on a side note, there's a torrent tracker which is dedicated to British TV. Rumours fly, that backroom deals (for instance not distributing content available on DVD) keeps them from legal trouble.

          also, I know that most german TV networks offer their content to watch online (though their TV imho, isn't worth watching).

          I admit, they're not torrenting their data and I don't know how easy it is to make a local copy (afaik the BBC requires you to use their own software iplayer). In the grand scheme of things it's quite a step forward though.
          • by Jurily (900488)

            I admit, they're not torrenting their data and I don't know how easy it is to make a local copy (afaik the BBC requires you to use their own software iplayer).

            Requiring a proprietary player to view the files online doesn't really answer my question about a DRM-free download, now does it?

            I agree, they're mostly keeping up with the times, but still.

          • by MrHanky (141717)

            NRK have offered streaming for years, both live and for older content. The main difference now is that bittorrent allows for higher resolution and bit rate than streaming does, and that the streaming is based on shitty Microsoft solutions that depend on either Silverlight or WMV (the user can choose between the two, and WMV works with Mozplugger + mplayer in Linux).

          • by Inda (580031)
            There's a client that fakes the referer header to something like "Apple iPhone". This allows you to download the vast majority of iPlayer content. I've only had use for it once and I forget the name. I think files downloaded were in MP4. Whichever format it was, I was able to transcode with no problems.

            Their website talked of a cat and mouse game with bytes being swapped by the BBC. The software author seemed to enjoy the game and is winning.

            Happy searching :)
        • by aliquis (678370)

          I'll bite. Show me one other country that does this:

          Some weeks ago NRK - Norwegian Broadcasting put up one of the most popular shows in Norway on bittorrent. For free, with no DRM, no country restrictions.

          SVT in Sweden? Though not by using a tracker:
          http://svtplay.se/ [svtplay.se]

          For radio:
          http://www.sr.se/webbradio/webbradio.asp?type=live&Id=&BroadcastDate=&IsBlock= [www.sr.se]

          Other channels:
          http://kanal5.se/web/guest/webbtv [kanal5.se]
          http://www.tv4.se/replay [tv4.se] (I guess, flash doesn't work in my Safari 4 beta. I'd believe tv6 got one to.)

          • by pipatron (966506)
            Streaming lowres shows using more or less proprietary players is far from what the parent was asking. NRK did it for years as well. Nobody wants that. This is the only way that they can compete with "piracy".
            • by aliquis (678370)

              They had something called SVT prime or something such to for higher resolution, and what says NRKs will be less "proprietary" than flash or whatever the webpages use?

              It may not be optimal but imho I'm fine with it on webpages to since that way I don't have to download all of it to start watching something and it's easy to navigate.

              I guess it's easier to offer higher quality by bittorrent though.

        • That show ... it's called "Where no one would have thought anyone could live" (that's a line from a well-known folk song here) and features people living far away from such things as roads, electricity, water and human company.

          I don't know. Very warm and cozy show, but might perhaps give a slightly unrepresentative picture of rural Norway!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ihmhi (1206036)

        We American's don't salute the flag. We pledge allegiance to our flag and everything it represents - not just the nation itself, but its ideals.

        I refused to say the pledge in high school as I'm an Atheist and I object to the "Under God" bit. I stand out of respect, but I don't salute in any way nor do I say the pledge.

        My homeroom teacher was in the Air Force and she really didn't like me for that, especially since I said, "Thank you for your service to this wonderful country that allows me to express my dis

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      People are actually thinking now?

      Yes, they are. But only in Norway. Sorry.

    • The NRK aren't all nice. They want everyone in Norway who owns a TV to pay a mandatory license to them, whether they can receive signals or not. Today the network is digital and encrypted, so there is no technical problem to opting out, but they still think payment should be mandatory.

      I think they even once suggested that everyone with a network card in their computer should pay the license, since they publish stuff on the web. Not sure if they've abandoned that, though.

      But there are some enlightened people

  • by theGreater (596196) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:55PM (#27114883) Homepage

    Experience from our early tests show that if we're the best provider of our own content we also gain control of it.

    ... think I'm going to faint.

    • by icebike (68054)

      By what stretch of the imagination do they gain control of it?
      Do they really think it can't be re-seeded and tracked by other trackers?

      • by eirikso (1009135) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:50PM (#27115299)
        Of course it can. It's out there. We know that. We're not talking COMPLETE control. That's not possible unless you lock down your content in a safe vault. But if you're the best provider people will come to your place to get it. Giving you better control. We're getting traffic FROM the pirate bay on the content that we have released as torrents. Because more people are seeding from our tracker. In general, people don't bother to redistribute as long as we provide unencrypted high quality files.
      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:54PM (#27115317)
        Because if I want to download a TV show from this Norwegian channel, the first place I would look after knowing that they have good torrents is the website for this Norwegian channel, not TPB. They've finally realized that if they have decent torrents and don't try to control every tiny thing, they will gain lots of respect, viewers, and money.
        • by icebike (68054)

          > gain lots of respect, viewers, and money.

          This presumes its worth watching in the first place.

          As for the "Money" bit, you do realized this is a fully government funded organization don't you?

          • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:09PM (#27115449)

            As for the "Money" bit, you do realized this is a fully government funded organization don't you?

            Yes, but if I was a Norwegian citizen and they asked me to vote on something that would slightly raise taxes to pay for upgrades, new shows, etc, I might actually vote for it because the government in this case is actually using taxpayer money responsibly.

            • by icebike (68054)

              > government in this case is actually using taxpayer money responsibly.

              Ok. Sorry.

              Didn't realize it was the government's job to entertain you.

              • No, I'm not in favor of state run anything (no state-funded roads, education, etc), but if the majority of people believe it is the government's job then I'd rather get a return on my tax dollars then shipping them off to nowhere where I will never see the results.
              • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday March 09, 2009 @04:18AM (#27118739)

                Unlike the US, TV in the rest of the world fulfills a lot of other purposes - apolitical news, documentaries, education, current affairs as well as entertainment shows that are too high-brow/niche for the commercial channels to bother with.

                Besides, it's not government-run, it's government funded; there's a difference. When TV is used to keep the populace informed, instead of just keeping the population stupified, it helps not to spend 30% of the runtime playing adverts.

            • by muffen (321442)

              As for the "Money" bit, you do realized this is a fully government funded organization don't you? Yes, but if I was a Norwegian citizen and they asked me to vote on something that would slightly raise taxes to pay for upgrades, new shows, etc, I might actually vote for it because the government in this case is actually using taxpayer money responsibly.

              In Sweden, the state-television (SVT) setup SVT Play [svtplay.se] not too long ago.
              Last month I started paying the TV License because I found SVT Play to be just

  • english subtitles?

    • english subtitles?

      Sorry, no one is seeding them yet ;)

    • Which do you want? Shouldn't be too hard for me to translate one, to let you see what it's about.

      How about "Knut and the milkmaid in Hattfjelldal (4:6)"?

  • by Saffaya (702234) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:04PM (#27114953)

    of common sense:

    "We have provided all the Norwegian subtitle files and if people want to fansub any of the episodes we're more than happy to let you do that. Please let us know in the comments and we'll link to your translations."

    Three cheers for the Norvegians !!!

  • With any luck, bigger media players will watch what happens here and learn from it. Maybe somebody will even go the next step and figure out how to profit off of this distribution scheme.
    • by RabidMoose (746680) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:12PM (#27115033) Homepage
      And what's more (from TFA's FA):

      If you want control of your content you need to lock it down in a vault and never show it to anyone. We gave up control of our content the day we started broadcasting. For years our most popular content have been available on BitTorrent and on sites like YouTube anyway. DRM doesnâ(TM)t work. The only way to control your content is to be the best provider of it. If people want it on YouTube then you should publish it on YouTube or in a system that give the same experience. If people want it on BitTorrent then you should provide that. If you do it right people will come to your official publish point and you'll end up with more control.

      • by Barny (103770)

        Now thats how to put pirates out of business :)

        • by Fluffeh (1273756)
          No, the "pirates" who counterfeit DVD's and flog them off at markets and bazaars will still do so. The average Joe Bloggs filesharer isn't trying to make a business out of filesharing, so offering it for free is merely imitating them - which won't stop them doing it.

          It's pretty much as the article says, it is merely putting more control into the hands of the publisher/broadcaster in this case.
          • by Barny (103770)

            I mean the private trackers who either charge money or run extensive and invasive ads to make a profit.

            And yes it will help get rid of the the pirates who sell counterfeit DVDs (of the shows displayed at least) since this will be easier than trying to find the purveyor.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      With any luck, bigger media players will watch what happens here and learn from it. Maybe somebody will even go the next step and figure out how to profit off of this distribution scheme.

      Actually, that's the whole issue. NRK is taxpayer funded so there are no fees or ads to begin with. Whether people watch it on TV or online really does not matter, in fact if they probably want to reach more people abroad with these shows as it fits their cultural mission. Subscription based or ad based TV has serious issues because others can distribute it without subscription fees or ads, which pretty much by definitino means it's not ideal. But it's another source for people to learn just how good TV off

    • If real television companies did this, I'd watch it with advertisements too.
      But none of this specialized player and a day (or week) late bullshit ...

  • Hurray! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by johsve (1491721)
    Finally, after all the fuss with the swedish FRA law monitoring the traffic from Norway the norweigans finally got pissed and decided to fight back. I think I'll move to Norway, it seems to be a nice country.
  • Is it available for outsiders as well? Could we get a link?

  • Translation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:19PM (#27115081) Journal

    "Experience from our early tests show that if we're the best provider of our own content we also gain control of it."

    Translated: More people will pay for what they can get for free than will pay for for less than they can get for free.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      More like:

      If it is just plain easier, and more reliable to get it from us in the way they want it, they will come to us instead of a 3rd party redistributor.

      (This means they will come to OUR site, and see OUR ads when they search our tracker.)

  • by el3mentary (1349033) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:27PM (#27115141)

    Hope that the BBC follows suite, it's the next logical step after iPlayer right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      Look, I'm sorry but the BBC is just plain broken. They use region locking, complain about having to use cross-platform standards (because we all know there are no more than 6,000 Linux users in the entire UK right?), and all the while the citizens of the UK seem to think it is fine and dandy for their government to be taking their tax dollars and making shows that aren't in the public domain.

      The BBC basically shows how NOT to run a state-run TV channel.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nbannerman (974715)
        Well to be fair, region locking makes sense.

        Why should I, as a UK TV licence payer, fund programs for other people to watch?

        Additionally, I believe that since the BBC co-producers shows with other broadcasters in other countries, the licensing agreements currently in place mean the BBC has to take steps to stop (for example) a co-Canadian produced drama appearing for free before it is shown in Canada.

        Oh, and the BBC is not a state-run tv channel. It is a public broadcaster, but aside from the BBC T
        • Re:I for one... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @08:39PM (#27116247)

          Why should I, as a UK TV licence payer, fund programs for other people to watch?

          Because it doesn't cost any more. If the entire world population were to turn on the BBC (and assuming these were physical TVs and not electronic so you can't add in the small cost of bandwidth) they could all receive it. Is it unfair? Yes, but I am of the opinion (note that I am not a UK citizen nor do I live in even a European nation), that if something doesn't require more money to keep it going, then why really charge for it or prevent others from using it? For example, for a road toll, by driving across it you create wear on the road that will eventually have to be paid to fix using the toll money. On the other hand, when I receive TV transmissions, it doesn't require any extra fees to keep it running.

          • Re:I for one... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by blackest_k (761565) on Monday March 09, 2009 @04:22AM (#27118745) Homepage Journal

            Actually if you were in Europe if you pointed a dish at 28.2 East you would have access to bbc1 to 4 cbbc and cbeebies also itv1-4 channel 4 e4 more4 film4 and channel 5 all are broadcast in the clear with no encryption. The bbc does limit it's output on the Internet but presumably it has to pay for the bandwidth used. so bbc says yes to give away for free, no to paying to let you watch for free.

            • by Kokuyo (549451)

              So what exactly speaks against opening a tracker here? The ones distributing would be the fellow British citizens, not the BBC.

        • The BBC commands a lot of respect in the world, and is a really good conduit for the British culture. You think that's something that can only be counted in 'paying X pounds for every show'?

          Some things are worth more than just how many people watch a show.

        • Why should I, as a UK TV licence payer, fund programs for other people to watch?

          So add advertisements to the bittorrent & let the BBC earn advertising income from the shows. People are lazy. If the BBC were to provide high quality, DRM free shows via a low cost bittorrent distribution method people would use it. So long as the advertisements are kept to a modest quantity & duration most people would be lazy enough to not bother removing them or skipping past them.

        • by Wheely (2500)

          The BBC is respected the world over. If their "constitution" were changed to allow them to make their own shows available, internationally, over the net with one or two adverts thrown in I think the viewing figures would be enormous. It might reduce the amount UK citizens had to pay for their TV license by quite a bit.

    • Re:I for one... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by FluffyWithTeeth (890188) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:09PM (#27115457)

      Hah, I don't think you understand bureaucracy.

      The BBC have shovelled a HUGE quantity of money into iPlayer. That spending has to be justified, which means it will stay largely as it is for at least the next five years.

  • It's nice to see more and more groups jumping on the bandwagon of digital distribution!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Clearly TPB should sue them, how the hell are they supposed to compete against a service that release their own content for free and in high quality, and that doesnt even have any advertising on their site?

  • Now that i'm throttled ( comcast user here ), what is in it for me to share my bandwidth for their benefit?

  • What contents are interesting? I didn't see anything but then can't read this foreign language. ;)

  • From the article:

    We are providing full quality video files with no DRM. The biggest problem regarding this project is to clear all the rights we need to be able to distribute content in such an open system. NRK is a big content producer, but record labels, actors, external production companies and format rights owners usually have contracts that prevent us from distributing our content freely in the internet.

    I may be overly optimistic, but we can at least hope this will eventually drive publicly funded and independent media away from global content conglomerates and towards a future where open licenses like Creative Commons and independent artists have a greater role.

  • by xiando (770382) on Monday March 09, 2009 @03:50AM (#27118647) Homepage Journal
    Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK) is financed through a "license" which they can by law charge everyone who owns a televison set or other equipment which is able to get TV broadcasts. c They have been trying to claim a whole range of ludicrous things in order to demand license fees from more people than those who are listed as TV owners in their database for years.

    NRK actually tried to claim that everyone who owns a telephone also has a television and asked for permission to demand that everyone registered with a telephone pays the TV license. They were, luckily, denied when they tried that one. Now they are trying to claim that everyone who owns a computer can view their content and should pay a television license.

    NRK setting up a BitTorrent tracker does look like a good thing - at first glance. But do not get fooled: This is all about getting a new Norwegian law which would say that everyone who owns computer technology must pay NRK a yearly fee. It is that simple. This is all about the money. That they use BitTorrent is in itself a good thing. Their motives are absolutely not.
  • If you go read the article (I-must-be-new-here), you'll note that it says

    "By Ãyvind Solstad â March 26, 2008".

    (in slashcode still doesn't handle unicode, it's "(Oslash)-yvind" and "solstad (groupoperation) March").

    The news are almost a year old. That taken into account, I hope it's a dupe ;)

    But in any case, it's good news, so keep on celebrating.

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