Letter To the ABC, re the takedown of Python-iView

Dear ABC,

As a regular ABC watcher, I was dismayed to hear that a takedown notice was sent to Jeremy Visser with regards to his distribution of the “Python-iView” software:

https://jeremy.visser.name/2009/08/python-iview/

Python-iView is, in my mind, little more than a VCR or PVR for the iView service – and from a moral perspective is thus no more or less “wrong”. The approach you have chosen to take would not be legal to take against Tivo or FetchTV recording the FTA DVB-T broadcasts, so it should not be taken against Python-iView.

The software that Jeremy HAD been distributing was absolutely necessary for users of a multitude of platforms to watch content hosted on iView. This includes Android devices that are not compatible with a Flash player, and other embedded devices. It makes it possible to watch iView shows on platforms based on Linux, a free and community-driven operating system (rather than the expensive and proprietary options that the Flash Player fully supports). It also made it possible to watch iView-hosted shows where Internet access is slow or unreliable (eg. during public transport).

I recognise that some content rights-holders might “get their knickers in a knot”, but there are two other approaches that the ABC can take:

  • Encouraging rightsholders to join the 21st Century and allow “fair use”-style distribution via the Internet (particularly with the low-quality video that iView uses, contrasted with high-definition material readily available via illegitimate means).
  • ┬áHaving a mechanism to allow for at least locally-produced shows (and other shows where the rightsholder agrees) to be available in full for non-Flash-supporting devices.

The ABC already half-heartedly supports the latter idea, with video podcasts available for some shows (such as Media Watch) – but Media Watch is by far the exception, rather than the rule.

Please consider working _with_ Jeremy, rather than against him, to ensure that ALL Australians have access to ABC programming. The insanity of the copyright restrictions being used against Python-iView are only in effect because the ABC chooses to allow it when licensing content.

Regards;
Robert Mibus.

To the regular ABC viewers reading this letter – I encourage you to support Jeremy and Python-iView and the freedoms and opportunities it represents. Make yourself heard to the ABC, and perhaps we can gain their cooperation.