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MP4 file download hole in iPlayer filled
Friday 14 March 2008 12:08:43 by Andrew Ferguson

The joy of software development is finding out when it will do things you never originally intended it to do. Some people apparently have been exploiting a way of downloading content from the BBC iPlayer that was meant to be streamed onto the iPhone and iPod platforms using a plug-in for the Firefox browser.

The BBC News item labels the people doing this as hackers, but it raises an interesting point about the use of a myriad of tools available that will let users get hold of streaming content as a file so that it can be played back on devices that would otherwise not play the streamed content.

A wide range of portable audio/video devices are available that will support the MP4 format, but are not able to access the iPod and iPhone content due to how the BBC iPlayer site streams the content. The cat and mouse game of plugging the holes that will appear in Digital Rights Management formats and streaming services will mean that the BBC iPlayer will have ongoing development costs beyond the costs of creating the variety of formats it currently produces. As some online music stores appear to have decided it may be better to encourage people to download content and leave them free to decide which devices they can play it on.


Posted by aos101 over 9 years ago
People have got round this change also:

How are we meant to do links in these comments that actually work?

As you say it's just a cat and mouse game. You just have to make the BBC's servers think your client is an iPhone.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
LOL dunno why they bother DRM is easy to strip anyway LOL
Posted by gayboy-ds over 9 years ago
I love it when the BBC do a story on themselves. That article acts nothing more than a press release.

Any criticism of the BBC is turned into spin. Watch closely... or not.
Posted by drteeth over 9 years ago
Bloody cheek. We've already paid for the content via the licence fee.
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
Still waiting for the penny to drop i think. Remove the pointless restrictions and enjoy bumper sales. Even if some of it gets stolen, the net profit wold still be larger than DRM or platform specific material makes now. With iTunes and iPods dominating, it's obvious why Apple, classic US firm, might want to ensure hardware sales but it's pointless for the content provider to stay in bed with it.
Posted by Pigmaster over 9 years ago
Carpetburn, please explain as I would be interested in knowing how?
Posted by MCM999 over 9 years ago
"We've already paid for the content via the licence fee" but not necessarily perpetual rights. Remember that many productions are bought by the BBC from third parties and often it is these third parties that are imposing the requirement on the BBC that any downloads be protected by DRM and only available for a limited time.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
@pigmaster.. google and read about tools called drmbg and freeme2, im not writing how to use them though or that you should use them as that would be ecouraging something on a legal tightrope. ;)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
@MCM999..... Rubbish unless they are going to punish or protect content see people that record on their PVRs or dvd recorders can no longer. The reason the online content has DRM is down to one thing, MONEY, its nothing to do with rights or laws.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
@Staff if the post about DRM tools is too near the mark please remove it, i would not want to cause this site any trouble :)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
@Carpetburn - Yes, the BBC have chosen to be able to afford to be able to provide the iPlayer (which, afaik, is a massive waste of cash but hey) because to be able to offer material across the internet (seperate, legally from broadcast) they've applied DRM.
Posted by Pigmaster over 9 years ago
Interesting reading, though how it all works is really beyond me.
I would really like a way to capture the Flash feed of the iplayer site as I do not wish to run Kontiki, besides why should I help them (BBC) to distribute (financially via ADSL monthly DD) the program but only have x days to view said programme. Being a license player blah blah blah.....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Embedded SWF and similar content is easy to capture and you dont even have to have firefox to do it, again google orbit downloader, that will capture youtube videos, all SWF content and sooooo much more embedded stuff with a few clicks, again the software is free, then its just a matter of having the right codecs (ffdshow) or app to convert from one format (FLV in youtubes case) to avi or MP4, mpeg etc etc..... Why they even bother trying to so called protect or force rubbish like kontiki on people is beyond me. LOL
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Carpet - because there the still the attitude among content creators that it is required. I make game for a living, and it's prevalent there.

The example of Baen books (the only *book* company to make money from ebooks, by shunning DRM) still hasn't filtered through.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Yea Dawn_Falcon but i can understand it with stuff like games in fact id agree with protecting them to an extent, especially when its a company selling a physical shop shelf product. Games i also imagine with stuff like safedisk protection are much harder to break than this DRM rubbish. (CONT)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
It boggles the mind why they would waste money and try to protect something thats basically SWF content and WMV content when free applications one of which is totally legit (Orbit downloader) can break it for free and in seconds... Truely Bizarre, mind you i spose its tax payers money they are burning so they dont give a (proverbial).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
Consider this, TV shows are product shop shelf material also, DVD box sets etc
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Really you can buy last weeks Eastenders as an example on dvd.... well i never! The Mrs will be very happy about that.
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