20 December 2005 · About 1 minute read

BBC Open Video Archives

I noticed today that the BBC has opened some of its news video archives to public (open-source) use. The content - limited at this beta stage - is available for use providing that no commercial gain is made from it, and original authors are attributed. It is also currently restricted to UK-only IP addresses.

The licencing is declared under the Creative Archive Licence, something that bears a striking resemblance to the well known Creative Commons licence that governs the use of many websites and much online content. One might ask why the BBC didn’t simply employ a Creative Commons licence to govern their media?

The media is protected from exploitation by a limited Digital Rights Management system, that provides a ‘patented Video Watermarking technology where a virtual barcode will be embedded into the video clips’. This, says the BBC, will help to trace the source of material used in exploiting the open licence. This open admission to, and limitation of, DRM usage probably helps to ensure the BBC will not enrage its consumers as in the case of Sony BMG.

Either way, the opening of commercial content for public use (so called produserism) is a massive change in the BBC’s traditional position as a content producer and distributor. With the growing authority of (P2P) social networks, the BBC’s move is one that should be welcomed.

Ironically, I found this announcement on the day my dissertation discussion turned to the increasing influence of social networks on established institutions.