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April 10, 2005
"Creative Archive" Poised for a Trip Back to the Future
The Guardian (UK) has the scoop on the new "creative archive" license that will reportedly be launched this Wednesday. Based on the Creative Commons licenses, the creative archive license will enable the BBC, Channel 4, the British Film Institute (BFI), and the Open University to make their archived programs, films, and other materials available on the Internet so that people can freely use them for fresh creative endeavors. The author of the piece, Kate Bulkley, clearly gets what this project is about.
The word "archive" has "an old, dusty feel about it," writes Bulkley -- but "in the world of UK television and film, the impact of archive material is about to take on a new dimension." In other words, this "archive" isn't about preserving the past -- it's about enabling the future.
"We are focusing less on the archive aspect and more on how to enable audiences, especially younger audiences, to whom we think we have a very valuable connection, to develop their creative skills," says Heather Rabbatts, head of education at Channel 4 and its representative with the creative archive licence group.
"We will trial different packets of content, different genres, clips and full programmes as well, and see what audiences do with it. Will they just download it, or will they edit it up?" [says Ashley Highfield, the BBC's director of new media and technology.]
Will young people sit back and passively consume -- or will they pick up the gauntlet and unleash upon the world a new bounty of Paperbackbeliever
-style remixed culture?
The article ends with the inevitable reference to lawyerly concerns -- how will these new-style archivists limit use of the material to the UK? The BBC's Highfield has a lovely answer:
"If we had started at the policing end we'd never have gotten anywhere with this. Where you've got to start from is, how do we make more content available? I believe this can be a win-win. UK licence-fee payers get more access to our content, and having it out there also stimulates various commercial sales markets. I don't believe one has to detrimentally affect the other."
No doubt Jamie Boyle would agree
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