High definition or long life — your digital TV choice

With the high-definition version of Freeview, programmes will only be recordable on designated devices

Digital rights management is largely beyond thecontrol of the local producers of content, panellists at the “Out of the Box — New Broadcasting Futures” conference in Wellington agreed last week.

“We have to observe the restrictions put on by the originators of the content, who may well be overseas,” Steve Browning, general manager of Freeview, told Computerworld.

This means with the high-definition version of Freeview, programmes will only be recordable on designated devices (Computerworld, May 14) and the recordings are likely to have a finite life. Content owners have given up the battle to protect standard definition material, Browning says.

Already, content downloaded from the TVNZondemand website contains an internal trigger that renders it unplayable after seven days, says TVNZ chief Rick Ellis. This principle will be continued and expanded with the advent of Freeview’s high-definition TV (HDTV) service next year, Browning says.

It is fair to limit the life of a customer-recorded television item, even a substantially locally generated TVNZ news programme, says Ellis. That programme is quite likely to contain items from overseas sources such as the BBC and those sources are entitled to impose their own terms on its dissemination. It would be too complex to disentangle the overseas items and allow the locally produced material to be kept, he says.

Earlier this year, Victoria University lecturer Stephen Marshall told an InternetNZ workshop on copyright that imposing a finite life on news recordings could allow a government to “edit history” and claim certain events never happened or happened differently.

Copies of broadcasts retained legitimately by Archives New Zealand would prevent such misrepresentation, Ellis says.

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Tags on-demandhigh-definitionfreeview television

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