The BBC Gets It — and how

The BBC Gets It — and how

Just when I had come to the gloomy conclusion that the intellectual property frenzy was unstoppable — even by Creative Commons — the Director General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, makes a truly extraordinary commitment: to make huge amounts of BBC archive content available on the Net, under reasonable fair-use licensing terms. I know — it’s unbelievable. But here is the relevant excerpt from his Edinburgh Festival interview.

“Looking ahead, let me give you one example of the kind of thing the BBC will be able to do in the future.

The BBC probably has the best television library in the world.

For many years we have had an obligation to make our archive available to the public, it was even in the terms of the last charter.

But what have we done about it?

Well, you all know the problem.

Up until now, this huge resource has remained locked up, inaccessible to the public because there hasn’t been an effective mechanism for distribution.

But the digital revolution and broadband are changing all that.

For the first time, there is an easy and affordable way of making this treasure trove of BBC content available to all.

Let me explain with an easy example.

Just imagine your child comes home from school with homework to make a presentation to the class on lions, or dinosaurs, or Argentina or on the industrial revolution.

He or she goes to the nearest broadband connection – in the library, the school or even at home – and logs onto the BBC library.

They search for real moving pictures which would turn their project into an exciting multi-media presentation.

They download them and, hey presto, they are able to use the BBC material in their presentation for free.

Now that is a dream which we will soon be able to turn into reality.

We intend to allow parts of our programmes, where we own the rights, to be available to anyone in the UK to download so long as they don’t use them for commercial purposes.

Under a simple licensing system, we will allow users to adapt BBC content for their own use.

We are calling this the BBC Creative Archive.

When complete, the BBC will have taken a massive step forward in opening our content to all – be they young or old, rich or poor.

But then it’s not really our content – the people of Britain have paid for it and our role should be to help them use it.

This is just one example of the kind of public value which I believe will come with the second phase of the digital revolution, but there will be many others.”