U.K.: Ofcom Favor Copy Protection Plan for BBC HD

Ofcom, the United Kingdom's general equivalent of the FCC in America, has indicated that it's "currently minded to approve" a BBC request of the broadcaster's plan to introduce copy protection technology on content for the upcoming commercial launch of the BBC's new service, Freeview HD.

The media regulator seems willing to amend its digital multiplex license parameters to support what it apparently views as justifiable content protection of HD digital terrestrial TV programming.

The protection proposal, which is subject to additional public comments until early April, is largely expected to be formally activated by Ofcom just prior to Freeview HD's planned launch later in the spring.

The BBC is currently working to ramp up its OTA HD services with the idea that even a small amount of copy protection on its Freeview HD service will suffice to persuade content owners to free up their material, and thus, grow the attraction of Freeview HD for U.K. consumers.

The copy protection plan being pushed by the BBC allows unrestricted recordings of HD content on "approved DVRs," but would allow broadcasters to control the copying of such content to other devices, as well as to online broadband sites.

"In view of the fuller submission provided by the BBC, Ofcom is currently minded to approve its request for a multiplex license amendment subject to consultation responses, on the basis that in principle, content management is a justified objective which ensures that the broadest range of HD content is made available to citizens and consumers," said the regulator in a special online statement.