The BBC has announced it will make available all of its radio and broadcast archives for free (about 80 years worth). This effort is astounding not just in its magnitude but in its foresight.
Whereas commercial media companies keep their content hidden for decades in vaults, the BBC is setting theirs free. Even its name, the BBC Creative Archive, gives hope that this might be the start of a genuine creative commons movement.
Of course, as a public institution, the BBC is not burdened by the the usual commercial interests as other media companies. But that does not diminish this act in the least. Perhaps it is the only way to give such an idea the clout it needs to catch on with other media outlets.
Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, clearly believes content should be allowed to spread to anyone who wants it.
"In particular, it will be about how public money can be combined with new digital technologies to transform everyone’s lives.”We couldn’t agree more that the proposition is one of public good, which doesn’t always jive with corporations who pledge to keep a democracy informed.
Update: Already Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB has proposed the BBC should be forced to sell their programs to reinvest into new content.
Wow, this is fantastic. What an amazing resources this will be. I heard a couple of years ago that the Chicago Tribune was paying prisoners and third-world workers to type in stories from its archives dating back 100-plus years but haven’t seen it yet. And it, of course, intended to sell access.