April 16, 2005
The UK has launched an initiative to release materials from the archives of the BBC, Channel 4, the Open University, and the British Film Institute in a form of the Creative Commons. The Creative Archive Licence will make materials available to the British public to remix and use in noncommercial projects. The terms of the Creative Archive Licence are no commercial, share alike, give credit, no endorsement, UK only. Within those stipulations, materials including 100 hours of of radio and television from the BBC and silent comedy and drama from BFI are being released for the British public to “Find it, Rip it, Mix it and Share it.” Although it’s a shame that the Creative Archive Licence will be UK only, the release of these and other materials should be a boon to artists and educators. It also makes a great deal of sense to me that publicly funded work should be made available for reuse by the public that funded it. One can only imagine the benefits that artists and educators would reap should NPR and PBS launch a similar initiative.
Lord Puttnam delivered a speech at the Creative Archive Seminar to launch the endeavor:
The key to really capitalising on the opportunity is going to be delivered by those who, with a leap of imagination, find the means to deliver compelling content in a way that plays to the specific strengths of the online world.
I think we’re only just beginning to explore what these models might look like – in the public and in the commercial sector.
At the moment most serious discussion around those new models is being inhibited by the fact that, whilst enormous amounts of energy are being expended to protect intellectual rights online, there hasn’t been anything remotely resembling that energy going into discussions around the use of digital technology to enhance access, and diversity.
The obsessive focus on the threat has continued to blind many to the opportunity. The commercial music industry has already paid a high price for that. The public sector cannot afford to make the same mistake.