Well, I’m amazed yet again at the world we live in. Being of a certain age, I listen to a lot of talk radio in the form of BBC’s Radio 4. One would have thought that this most conservative of stations would generally remain unaffected by modern world Internet issues. How wrong could I be?
I have read much over the years about the contentious subject of Digital Rights Management but I cannot say it has generally encroached itself into my cosy small world. However, I guess this is all about to change. I get used to the many service drop-outs on the Radio 4 service (I’m suffering from it now) but this is something else!
Here I was sitting at my computer at 12:15 on Thursday 4th September 2008 replying to emails, talking to my wife and half listening to a the programme that was interviewing a Google employee, D J Collins of Google’s public affairs team about their controversial agreement to restrict content when the company operates in China. Suddenly, right in the middle, the flow hiccoughed and was replaced by a repetitive female voice saying over and over again “Due to rights restrictions we are currently unable to bring you this programme”! You can listen to the message here if interested.
I’ve never, ever, heard this message before and as a BBC licence fee payer I would never expect to hear this message in the UK. I have read about the restrictions the BBC imposes on content to none UK listeners who have not paid a TV license fee, but I’m in the UK so this would not apply.
After five minutes of this annoying voice I dashed to the other room and turned on the Sky Radio 4 stream and just caught a presenter explaining that Internet listeners should now have their service resumed. He said that the issue was caused because a report that was recording in Beijing included a section about the Paralympics and that the BBC did not have International rights so the BBC could not broadcast the report over the Internet! It makes you wonder doesn’t it? I guess the BBC will not be showing Paralympic events on the Internet then. (1)
Well, I have to say I’m amazed if that is actually the case. I’m event more amazed if it is. Are we, as Internet listeners, going to be subjected to this on a regular basis when Radio 4 transmits items that they do not have the appropriate rights to broadcast material on the Internet? Will whole programmes be block? BBC TV is available on the Internet will watchers be blanked out as well?
It will be interesting to see what the on-line recording of today’s You and Yours will contain. The mind boggles! Well, having listened to recording and I can now say they have included 15 minutes of “Due to rights restrictions we are currently unable to bring you this program” – surprise, surprise!
(1) Note from Sports City: “For those fans of the Paralympic Games who do not live within the territories of the rightsholding broadcasters, there will be coverage available on www.ParalympicSport.TV , the IPC’s internet TV channel. Daily news and highlight shows will be offered on demand as well as live coverage wherever possible. More than 150 hours of Paralympic sports are already available on the channel, 24/7 free of charge, all over the world. Additionally, daily news will also be shown on the YouTube channel of ParalympicSport.TV at www.youtube.com/ParalympicSportTV . Fans of Paralympic Sport can also join the group “Your Paralympic Moment” and upload video clips of their special Paralympic Moment. The best clips will be released on ParalympicSport.TV after the Games.”