Same old, Same old,
Ah, and so it starts.
1) Pathetic "security".
2) Easily overridden.
3) Pathetic attempt at fixing "security".
4) Overidden within a matter of hours.
5) A few more pathetic attempts.
6) All overridden within a day each.
7) A massive, overbearing, expensive DRM scheme far superior to that seen before.
8) Cracked by DVD Jon within a month.
9) Several attempts at fixing the problem, all ultimately failing.
10) BBC gives up on downloads because it can't legally guarantee their security.
11) Other stations follow suit, join in with RIAA's cries of "you're ruining our business" while reaping enormous profits still (good luck to them, I say, I don't deny people their profits).
12) "Piracy" continues anyway, using the much simpler methods that had nothing to do with DRM in the first place (a TV card and a cable), but now every company "knows" that you can't make money by offering consumers content, "even with DRM".
Tape copying, CD copying, dongle-cracking, inkjet printer chips, DVD's, music, Blu-Ray, it's all just a cycle. And in the end nothing happens that actually *prevents* "piracy" (this is the same copyright infringement as copying an MP3, software or a movie, don't forget) and consumers find their own ways even if the companies don't offer it.
So the money goes to the people who write the software that cracks the encryption, to the ISP's for their bandwidth charges, etc. instead of to the company that just didn't want to make it easy for their customers to live. And all because of a tiny percentage of unscrupulous people that wouldn't stop copying if you GAVE them DRM-free open-procotol downloads of everything in your archive anyway.
I don't condone "piracy" in any way, shape or form. But I condone even less companies that try to step beyond the law to protect their revenue. For instance, do I have an actual legal right to copy my music for personal use or not? Why don't you tell me, definitively, either way *before* you start spouting off that everything I copy is illegal? Or that it changes depending on jurisdiction? Or that technically it could be illegal but that you don't mind? It's taken years of fighting to get incomplete statements on the above questions, so in the meantime, everyone has just carried on as they want and ignored you. The BBC hasn't done a bad job so far, but they are still standing before important people having to explain why Joe with his Linux machine can't access the same content as others.
When you see kids in schools swapping music, games, ringtones and googling for images to put into their work without care of copyright or other rights, you know exactly where all this is going to end up - a world where all copyrights are basically ignored. That's a bad place to be.
Even back in the old ZX Spectrum days (late 80's, so that's nearly 20 years now), such DRM failed even more miserably without the fanfare. It was still one of the most popular home computers, though, and made many people millionaires. People copied tapes so authors put in copy protections, one person somewhere worked out a method around it, everyone else then carried on copying tapes. And most people still made money - I don't deny that some people would have lost out too but those people putting DRM on their tapes would not have helped sales at all - in fact the opposite.
The most effective copy-protection I ever saw, before I knew what copy-protection was, came on a ZX Spectrum copy of Saboteur - the game said on loading "If this tape hasn't got the words Durell running through it, it's not genuine". And my original, legal tape had the words printed on the lead-in to the tape. I actually checked, even though I had bought it in a store. Nothing since then has been any more effective and I don't see how anything can be (I'm a mathematician and computer-scientists and I have an interest in encryption and communication, so that's rather telling).
I work in network management and only last week, I promised to never buy from two companies again because of overbearing copy-protection. One on a piece of sign-language software that shows signs for the words you select in the bottom-corner of the screen. We're talking 50 lines of Visual Basic and a sign-language clipart folder. It ruins all my network management processes, it "sticks" to machines and won't remove itself, it refuses to install even when we have legitimate licenses and even the helpline aren't that interested in helping us install it.
The other needed a floppy disk to install, remove, or change itself and the floppy kept track of which machines it was on, how many licenses you used etc. Much neater than the above but still a PITA, especially when half my machines don't even HAVE a floppy. So I made a Rawrite image of the floppy before I started and I do "manual" license enforcement without the hassle, whether from image or a real floppy.
In any places that matter, people HAVE to do license enforcement whether you make them or not, whether the software enforces it or not. There's a tiny middle ground that MAY be costing companies some money but the fact is that with DRM you're losing more in causing the former places hassle than you EVER will make back from DRM once you take into account DRM development, lost sales, etc.
When they fix this rubbish, for-education-only software of little value, that nobody would have any interest in copying AT ALL, I'll start buying licenses again. In the meantime, neither company will be getting any money and we'll just find an alternative package and look forward to the day that nobody has the software installed on any machines at all. And that's an entirely legitimate practice in a perfectly-licensed workplace. That's how much you make me hate your software when you put DRM in unnecessarily.
Eventually the BBC will learn, like the music artists are starting to. DRM is a way to stop your customers buying and using things they want to. The BBC will have to renegotiate all their contracts which will be difficult, but the DRM is just an absolute waste of time, like the geographic IP restrictions. You can't solve an (at least) 20 year old problem overnight when there isn't a single product that even gets close... the dongles on high-end CAD software cost hundreds of pounds and they are routinely bypassed by crackers. Either offer your archive in a sensible, non-DRM format, even for a reasonable price or don't "promise" that you can do it sensibly with DRM.