Screw You Channel 4 (The IT Crowd)
UPDATE: After following a link in the comments section (Thanks J Pettus!) I downloaded un-drm’ed files via the fine folks at BoingBoing.
Unfortunately this did not actually improve the situation, at least in the legal sense.
While these files are standard, generically encoded WMV files, I cannot legally view them on a Linux computer. As a computer geek with limited financial resources I made the decision to go open source instead of continuing years of obtaining software through less scrupulous means.
WMV files use a windows32 codec which is considered the legal property of Microsoft (I think). Regardless of who owns them they are definitely illegal to install on a Linux machine, not that that has stopped the throngs of *nix users out there.
While there is a way to do this on a Linux machine, it’s still not ok in the eyes of the computer cops.
So after spending literally hours trying to get my Ubuntu Linux box to read the WMV files that are the first two episodes of The IT Crowd I’ve decided to give up. To make matters even better you can’t access the streaming versions of the show from outside the UK (you can view that error message here.)
This whole process has really pissed me off.
I’d imagine Channel 4’s discussion went something like this:
Programming Exec: “So we’re ready to release the show online. How should we do it?”
Marketing Dweeb: “I know! Let’s use a DRM-protected windows media format! That way we can appease the DRM gods (even though our product is supposed to be “free” online).”
PE: “What about people who don’t use windows?”
MD: “Oh, you mean the people the show is actually targeted at? We never worried about them before, why would we now?”
A friend recommend undrm’ing the files with WINE, but that would involve reinstalling windows on my machine just to get a couple DLL files.
And screw Channel 4. So much for the first great attempt at IP Television.