Online media archive moves step closer

Online media archive moves step closer

Free Internet access to thousands of clips from public service radio and TV programmes is a step closer after the launch of the Creative Archive Licence.

The BBC, Channel 4, the British Film Institute (BFI) and The Open University (OU) launched the scheme yesterday.

Plans for the Creative Archive initiative will allows the public to "own" a copy of the clips and use them for their own creations.

At the launch, the four partners in the Creative Archive Licence Group called for other media and arts organisations to join them.

It is hoped the Creative Archive Licence will give media users legal access to material which they can use to express their creativity and share their knowledge.

It will allow people to download and use footage and audio for non-commercial purposes, with each user agreeing to abide by the licence conditions before gaining access to any of the available material.

The archive was set up after the BBC pledged to "help establish a common resource which will extend the public's access while protecting the commercial rights of intellectual property owners".

The Creative Archive Licence is inspired by the Creative Commons system - a flexible copyright arrangement pioneered in the US to stimulate creativity.

The BBC will initially make footage from natural history and factual programmes available under the licence, while Channel 4 has commissioned a selection of content.

The BFI will be releasing silent comedy, early literary adaptations, newsreel footage and archive footage of British cities in the early 20th century.

The OU's pilot scheme will be making available video and audio teaching material from a range of genre including geography, science and history.

Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, said: "The Creative Archive Licence provides a unique solution to one of the key challenges of rights in the digital age.

Heather Rabbatts, head of education at Channel 4, said: "Seeking innovative ways to nurture the creativity of the country lies at the very heart of Channel 4's public service activity."

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