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SWF verification blocks open source software from BBC iPlayer content

Written by James Delahunty @ 28 Feb 2010 7:06

SWF verification blocks open source software from BBC iPlayer content The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has enabled SWF Verification for its catch-up Internet-video service. SWF Verification is effectively a content protection mechanism, in that its use can block out unauthorized software from accessing content. In this case, users of Open Source software (such as Xbox Media Center - or XBMC) can no longer access videos from BBC's iPlayer.
Adobe has effectively made it impossible for develops to create a fully-compatible open source Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) client. RTMP is used by Flash for streaming video, and it is publicly documented, but Adobe has guarded the RTMP content protection measures. SWF Verification is a security measure that can lock out an unauthorized client from multimedia content.

Content becomes accessible only by specific SWF files, and is controlled by the use of an authorization key. Fail to provide the authorization key and the video won't be retrieved. The principal intention of SWF Verification to guard against piracy (ripping videos) but regular honest users are once again caught in the crossfire.

It is possible to circumvent such a barrier, but Adobe has used DMCA takedown notices to shut down open source software projects that aim to do so.

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