I’ve made some pretty sweeping changes to the BBC streams page. Some of the Real Player links are now gone and there are now links to play everything in the BBC Radio Player application.
You’ll notice that there are still some links to Real streams on my page. These mainly point to talk shows where the BBC owns all of the rights and doesn’t have to negotiate with a third party. These links are also available on the BBC web site. The code which builds my site has been adapted so that as more BBC pages have that link on them, so the Real links will automatically appear on my site. But for programmes where the BBC doesn’t give a Real link, I won’t be giving one either.
Now before anyone starts jumping to conclusions, I haven’t been closed down by the BBC. No-one is forcing me to make these changes. No-one is threatening me with legal action. In fact, no-one has even asked me to make these changes.
But I have had a conversation with the BBC. And I now understand why they don’t want people listening to some of their shows in the standard Real Player. Well actually, they do want people to be able to do that and they are doing all they can to move towards that happening as soon as possible. However they have to live in a complex commericial environment, and the people who own the rights to the music played on the BBC are a little wary of the prospect.
The BBC are engaged in constant negotiation with these people are are trying to persuade them to allow unfettered to this music. The presence of the Real stream links on a reasonably well-known page like mine could potentially undermine those negotiations.
If the BBC get their way, then all of these shows will be available for free download without any kind of DRM and I hope that’s what we all want. If by removing the extra links from my page then I can do my bit in bringing that a bit closer then I’m happy to do that.