Last August, Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, announced that the BBC would soon launch its “Creative Archive” — a project to put much of the Beeb’s programs on the Internet, so that the licence-paying British public could have access to it.
This is the most ambitious project of its type ever conceived. A fully realized Creative Archive could transform the BBC’s precious, deep archive into a springboard for a new century of participatory creation by Britons. This project stands to make the BBC the banner-carrier for public service broadcasting in the information age, but if the BBC bends to pressure to scale back its ambition, the Creative Archive could amount to little more than brochureware and failed promise.
You can help: if you’re a license payer, you can join the Friends,, and there will be lots of opportunities in the near future to petition the Beeb, the Governors, the DCMS and Parliament for this — there’s an open letter now that you can sign onto.
Here are some of the elements critical to the creation of a real, useful, relevant Creative Archive:
* It must be broad: drawing from all areas of the BBC’s broadcasting from factual to light entertainment, from drama to sport, and everything in between.
* It must be accessible: files must be made available in open, standards-defined formats without “digital rights management” or other technology locks that will keep Britons from creatively re-using the BBC’s offerings.
* It must be free: Material should be licensed under conditions that do not restrict any licence payer from accessing, storing, modifying or sharing archive material for non-commercial use.
* It must be whole: Material should be provided in its entirety for non-commercial use, not only in excerpted form.
* It must be soon: the BBC’s own internally produced material should be released into the Archive as soon as possible, to prove to the world that the sky won’t fall if you relax your copyright stance.
* It must be complete: the BBC should take steps to clear the rights to the independently produced material in its archive.
* It must be sustainable: the BBC’s new licensing agreements with independents should all include the right for the BBC to make the works available in the Creative Archive for full non-commercial use.
Tags: BBC, copyright, creative_commons, TV