BBC Creative Archive licensing to be based on Creative Commons

In a significant step forward towards the opening of a portion of the BBC’s archives, the BBC today made their intentions for the Creative Archives clearer to other UK broadcasters and public sector organisations. The Creative Archive,  originally announced by Greg Dyke in 2003, plans to offer the British public free access to some of the BBC’s audio and video programming.

This afternoon the first meeting of an external consultative panel, which included many UK media holders, heard the BBC’s decision that it will base the Creative Archive usage licence on the Creative Commons (CC) model. This confirmation follows some speculation on the subject. The CC model turns copyright on its head by explaining the ways that the content can be used rather than saying it cannot – or Some Rights Reserved as they put it. By happy coincidence, Creative Commons 2.0 was released yesterday.

By applying a CC-type license to the content, the BBC will enable individuals in the UK to download released content to their computers, share it, edit it and create new content. Commercial reuse of the content will not be allowed.

Professor Lawrence Lessig, chair of the Creative Commons project was clearly excited: “The announcement by the BBC of its intent to develop a Creative Archive has been the single most important event in getting people to understand the potential for digital creativity, and to see how such potential actually supports artists and artistic creativity.” He went to enthuse “If the vision proves a reality, Britain will become a centre for digital creativity, and will drive the many markets – in broadband deployment and technology – that digital creativity will support.”

Lessig has been invited by the BBC to be a permanent member of external consultative panel, which is wise because he is clearly at the centre of Creative Commons and politically wise in the BBC becoming closely associated with the whole movement. This announcement will also be a huge boost in profile for Creative Commons.

Paul Gerhardt, Joint Director, BBC Creative Archive explains: “We want to work in partnership with other broadcasters and public sector organisations to create a public and legal domain of audio visual material for the benefit of everyone in the UK.” Those attending today’s meeting included Channel 4; the British Film Institute; the British Library; ITN; JISC; The National Archives; the Natural History Museum; the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council; senior figures from the independent production industry; BBC Worldwide. The BBC plans to keep those attending abreast of the project, while encouraging them to follow the same route to opening their own archives.

This news will give further hope to those who feel the BBC is a leading light in the usage and availability of content in a Digital Lifestyles world. Gerhardt added “We hope the BBC Creative Archive can establish a model for others to follow, providing material for the new generation of digital creatives and stimulating the growth of the creative culture in the UK.”

Read our interview with Paula Le Dieu, Joint Director on the Creative Archive.

Creative Commons

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