"The important thing is the BBC is using an imposed tax, for which I can be sent to gaol for not paying, for purposes which cannot benefit payers like me."
No, in fact, you cannot be sent to jail for watching TV without a licence. You CAN be sent to jail for not paying any fine imposed on you for not having a licence, but thats an entirely different offence (contempt of court).
"If those "content providers" are insisting on hobbling their output using something filthy like DRM, then the proper response from Auntie Beeb would be "Well good luck publishing it yourself then"."
As has already been noted, practically ALL of the BBC's content is now produced by outside companies. If the BBC tell them to feck off then the BBC will have nothing but old in-house programmes to put on iPlayer.
"So why aren't the rights holders up in arms about this given that it's just as easy to buy a cheap DVB-T USB stick and record straight to DVD anyway at full broadcast resolution?"
Feck knows, but that's the way it is. The stuffed shirts in charge either haven't worked that out yet (and the fact that their chosen DRM is already cracked) or don't care. I, like most people, cannot see any point in DRM on music downloads because any track available for download as DRM crippled, compressed, low bitrate, overpriced crap can be had uncompressed and DRM free simply by purchasing a CD.
The shirts at the BPI and RIAA have their own agenda, however stupid it may seem. The TV industry, it seems, is little different.