Membership: protected downloads not working

I'm using Membership 3 RC 2 with Buddypress

settings:
Your uploads location: wp-content/uploads
Masked download URL: downloads
Protected groups: Protected Downloads

I've added "Protected Downloads" as a rule in the appropriate Access Level

In a blog post I've uploaded a PDF and protected it with the group "Protected Downloads"

I insert it into my post with the full URL:
http://mywebsite.com/wp-content/uploads/my-file.pdf

to the user it appears masked:
http://mywebsite.com/downloads/my-file.pdf

but when the link is clicked on the user sees a "No Access" graphic

please advise