BBC doesn’t open its archives to the world

BBC opens up its news archive:

Wow. Wow wow wow. Will we all remember where we were when the BBC opened up its news archive for downloaders? This is incredibly exciting. Haven’t played with it much yet, but just wanted to say that.

This is really cool, but there’s a catch, something people fail to note about Auntie Beeb’s open efforts: This is for British users, not everyone.

The BBC’s funding, which comes from taxes paid on television and radio receivers purchased in Britainthose living in the UK who intend to watch television are expected to buy a TV license annually per household, is for development of programming that serves the British public. Outside of the U.K., the BBC intends to make money and control the distribution of content, because the rest of the world is not paying for the content and the BBC (and the British government) aren’t interested in subsidizing the global open media movement. Funding for BBC World Service comes in part from the UK Foreign Office.

The British may be well advised to subsidize global open media, but they aren’t interested in it. Not even the radical open media people in the BBC have enough clout to make this a freely accessible global service.

See for yourself, by clicking a media link. You get this message:

Sorry, you’ve been declined because our system shows that you are outside the UK.

Yes, I’m outside the UK

The BBC has decided to limit access to its archives in this pilot to UK residents to ensure best value for the UK licence fee. Users outside of the UK are not able to access clips and programmes that form part of this pilot. Regrettably we are therefore unable to offer you content and would like to apologise for any disappointment. Please spare five minutes to give us your feedback.

More about the Creative Archive Licence



I live outside the UK and I’m happy to pay for programmes and clips

The BBC content released for this pilot is not available for sale. Click here for material for sale.



It’s not that I want to rain on this parade, but I don’t think this is a world-changing moment. It’s certainly not
Howard big, and I am not sure that’s going to turn out so big, either.

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Author: Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch Ratcliffe is a veteran entrepreneur, journalist and business model hacker. He operates this site, which is a collection of the blogs he's published over the years, as well as an archive of his professional publishing record. As always, this is a work in progress. Such is life.

One thought on “BBC doesn’t open its archives to the world”

  1. A slight correction: The BBC’s funding doesn’t come from a tax on TV/radio receivers bought in Britain. Instead those living in the UK who intend to watch television are expected to buy a TV license annually per household. Funding for BBC World Service comes in part from the UK Foreign Office.

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