BBC blocks third-party iPlayer apps

The BBC has closed a “loophole” in the iPlayer that prevents third-party apps from accessing its content.

BBC blocks third-party iPlayer apps

The move will effectively kill off a series of independent apps that allow viewers to stream and download the BBC’s shows, although the broadcaster declined to comment on what measures were taken or the technical details of the “loophole”.

“We need to be as certain as we can be that our content rights restrictions are being respected,” online managing director Ian Hunter said on the BBC’s blog. “Before we allow a device to access our content we need to check that it is iPlayer and not an application which might break our rules – for example, by storing programmes beyond the 30 day limit, or playing them outside the UK.

We know that a number of applications have been making unauthorised use of some media types and we have tightened security accordingly

“We know that a number of applications have been making unauthorised use of some media types and we have tightened security accordingly… The result was that some applications that ‘deep link’ to our content may no longer work. It’s important to note that this has nothing to do with Flash, and it’s nothing to do with support for open source. In fact we continue to make our content available as H.264 or SSL.”

Affected apps

Last week, the broadcaster issued developer Camiloo with a cease-and-desist order for its Rewat.ch app, which allowed users to search the iPlayer’s RSS feed and download content for later viewing.

“We were in discussion with [the BBC] and it flagged up some issues,” managing director Mark Newby told PC Pro. “The main issue it had was content providers were worried people would walk away with programmes by downloading them.”

IPhone users can still watch the iPlayer via the Safari browser, although this doesn’t offer any facility to download shows and watch them offline. The BBC said it was working on a range of legitimate mobile apps.

Another of the affected apps is BeebPlayer for Android, which appears in the 100 Best Apps feature that’s included in this month’s PC Pro, on sale Thursday. Or the 99 Best Apps feature, as we’re now rebranding it…

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