The BBC's Creative Archive

The BBC's Creative Archive is a project, announced yonks ago by Greg Dyke, in which BBC content would be made available to the public under a Creative Commons-esqe license, allowing redistribution and derivative works (in the UK).

The site launched a couple of months ago, but so far the only material to have been released are a few transcripts of interesting speeches. In the Guardian last week, Ben Hammersley discussed the problem:

"It has run into a snag. Two, actually. The first is that the existing BBC archive is full of footage where the BBC does not own the right to reuse it in this way, or where no one knows to whom the rights belong. The second is that it is unable to negotiate an agreement with independent producers, and their representative bodies, that will allow future programming to be put in the archive, too."

Because of this, the BBC must go through "a year of pilot schemes, tests and inquiries as to whether the Creative Archive might reduce a few companies' profits". Furthermore, the BBC's Annual Report states that the project "continues to be trialled and if completed successfully would be subject to a public value test and require approval from the Governors before a full launch".

Bloody hell! Tests, trials, more tests, consultations, approvals! It'll be miracle if they ever get round to releasing anything! I agree absolutely with Ben Hammersley's comment ("We have paid for it, now let us use it."). The Guardian Online Blog quotes my reaction: "Rights management is a nightmare, but the BBC has huge teams of people working that area, and they should just get on with it and release stuff."

I realise that that comments sounds a little simplistic, but my main point is that surely there's some stuff which can definately be released here and now, even if it's not that interesting? Surely the BBC owns the rights to internally-generated material?

Or how about releasing some of the material that users have sent in? Seeing as how the terms of use state that, by contributing material to the BBC, users grant the BBC:

"a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licenseable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, play, make available to the public, and exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to your contribution worldwide and/or to incorporate your contribution in other works in any media now known or later developed for the full term of any rights that may exist in your contribution"

- surely that more than covers the BBC's right to re-release your material under a Creative Archive license?

In other news, the BBC has also recently launched their Open Source website (and this actually has some content).