A recent article over on the Guardian website has ridiculed the BBC’s approach to DRM (Digital Rights Management) as it tries to strive to do stuff with high definition broadcasts that a lot of people aren’t too happy about. It’s not the protection of content that I have an issue with – Sky already does this – no, it’s the impact this may have on the manufacture of set-top boxes for the visually impaired who need to make use of Audio Description (AD) technology in order to enjoy television.
During my childhood, I had one Great Aunt (from Mum’s side of the family) who was blind. She had lost her sight due to age. She occasionally made use of AD (Audio Description) in order to watch television.
Anyway, I don’t agree with the angle taken by the piece on the Guardian, but I was struck by the problems it could present to the visually impaired. The RNIB are actually against what the BBC are up to and explained last year why:
RNIB does not support the introduction of DRM to Freeview HD content as it would make the market less likely to support the needs of blind and partially sighted people, by offering higher priced, less accessible alternative Freeview HD receiving equipment compared to that which is available in a non-DRM environment.
That to me was enough of a reason for me to spend this morning writing to my MP Sarah Newton and one of my MEPs – Sir Graham Watson – in order to express my distress at the matter. Sure my Great Aunt is no longer alive, but there’s still plenty of visually impaired people living in the UK who would be affected by this.
But why get politicians involved rather than contacting Ofcom? Well, Ofcom have said okay to what the BBC are up to. So yeah, I figured it would be better to write to my MP and MEP.