[ubuntu-uk] BBC and open formats??

Martin Fitzpatrick martin.fitzpatrick at gmail.com
Thu Nov 2 14:23:42 GMT 2006


Thanks for posting this to the list.  A few thoughts from reading...

On 02/11/06, Andy <stude.list at googlemail.com> wrote:
> > I was given a link to download.com with about 500 programs related to
> activeX and was told to install it, (which one? does ActiveX work on
> Ubuntu, I told them I used Ubuntu grr).

Bear in mind who is writing the response to your complaint. It's very
unlikely the person is highly computer literate, has much technical
experience, or even knows what an Ubuntu is.  If they did, they
wouldn't take a job answering complaints.

Doesn't make your point any less valid, but it's worth bearing in
mind.  Of course the answer is to educate!

> I was told:
> 'As a result, you and other users have asked that we consider
> supporting other software.  The issue faced by the BBC is that we must
> pay considerable costs for the licensing of any software.  Increasing
> the number of software applications means an increased cost to license
> fee payers.' (from info at bbc.co.uk)
> Oddly I thought you could get software to stream ogg vorbis for free,
> I am almost sure that you can. The BBC are now lying to me in response
> to my complaints, despicable!

I'm not sure whether you're joking here, but I would be very careful
about using the word 'lie'.  Lying implies an intent to deceive, the
accusation of which is slanderous unless you have proof.  Choosing
your words carefully is important when campaigning - both to avoid
legal action and being labelled crazy.

"The BBC are now providing inaccurate information in response to my
complains" is the best option in this instance.  Or perhaps
"...providing insufficiently researched responses to my complaints".

The latter could be a justifiable reason to take this to higher levels.

> I might just write to my MP, but unfortunately there isn't an election
> around the corner so it will probably be ignored.

Check your MP's track record on these issues.  If you visit them in
person they will be far more responsive (they get a lot of mail) and
you can put your point across more clearly.  Don't expect immediate
changes/action - aim to raise awareness first and any other outcome is
a bonus.

When talking to large organisations try to avoid emotional appeals.
Instead focus on procedural issues or policy which can be easily
delegated. Point out contradictions in current policy and give hints
to as how to correct this.  However, be wary of preaching - people
prefer ideas they think they had themselves.

It would worth to make mention of the recent coverage of Mark
Shuttleworth & Ubuntu by the BBC itself.  Perhaps point out that while
they are supporting OSS software (compliment) in this manner they are
indirectly preventing its uptake through restrictive media policy
(contradiction / complaint).

> I urge everyone reading this to file an official complaint on:
> <http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/make_complaint_step1.shtml>
> DO NOT use 'send a complaint' or 'make a suggestion' they ignore
> those, they will actually reply to a complaint. (if they don't it will
> make there quarterly statistics interesting won't it).

It may be worth putting together a group letter for the BBC & MPs,
perhaps using the forums to increase uptake.  The Red Cross etc. ran a
campaign recently sending letters/emails to MPs on the subject of road

Perhaps potential for another group project?


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