Ofcom has backed the BBC proposals to use DRM (digital rights management) technology to protect Freeview HD programming from being copied and sent around the world via the internet.

The regulator has agreed to allow the Corporation to restrict access to HD electronic programme guide (EPG) data to only those Freeview HD set-top boxes and integrated TVs that include specified content management technology.

The proposal was put forward after feature film, drama and other high value content owners applied pressure on the broadcast sector.

Ofcom said: “This technology will control the way HD films and TV shows are copied on to, for example, Blu-ray DVDs and shared with others over the internet.”

As part of Ofcom’s research, broadcasters - including ITV and Channel 4 - provided confidential details about the programming that would have been pulled from HD schedules if an effective content management technology was not implemented.

The BBC will licence the intellectual property required to gain access to the HD EPG data free of charge to consumer electronics manufacturers.

The data, known as the Huffmann Tables, regulates the number of recordings that viewers can make to an external device. It is already in place on Freesat.

Objections came from consumer organisations such as the Open Rights Group.