Talk:Interview with BBC Creative Archive project leader
Original Reporting 
Transcript of the interview (or an MP3 of the audio atleast) to come...
Comments from Suw Charman 
Firstly, Paul Gerhardt (the project leader) mentioned that there would be always be some material that the BBC will want to exploit commercially (eg via DVD sales), even though some people may have recorded it on their PVRs, etc. He pointed to a three tier system:
And suggested that content would move down between the modes (with some material going straight to creative archive). Do you think the BBC is right to continue to exploit its content commercially (using DRM), in order to help bring in revenue?
- ) content sold commercially
- ) content available for free via 'view again' eg media player
- ) creative archive
- I think it's absolutely correct that the BBC should continue to sell its content commercially, but it needs to examine more closely whether it should continue to use DRM.
- DRM distorts the traditional tradeoffs associated with copyright, reducing the consumer's fair dealing rights. This has a particularly serious impact on the visually impared, who can be prevented from accessing media that they could otherwise enjoy because DRM makes it impossible, for example, for 'fansubbers' to add closed captions to uncaptioned material.
- As a public broadcaster, the BBC has a duty to provide the best service it can to all members of British society, and, in very simple terms, DRM reduces the usefulness and usability of content that the public have already paid for via the licence fee.
The BBC has also made some pledges to the commercial sector, to help assure them over their concerns, one of which is that the content isn't available in broadcast quality. Do you think that this cripples the project?
- For our full opinion on the problems with DRM, you can se our submission to the APIG public inquiry: http://www.openrightsgroup.org/orgwiki/index.php/APIG_DRM_Inquiry_Submission
- The higher the quality of material released, the better, but I don't think that it's a significant issue. People are happily using low-quality footage from mobile phones, digital cameras and other non-broadcast quality sources already, so they will not be put off by quality unless it is dreadfully poor. The inventiveness of film-makers and mash-up artists is not restricted by the quality of the footage they use but by the amount of material they have access to.
On a general point, how important do you think the BBC Creative Archive project is within the general trend of 'open' content?
- I hope quality will improve over time, as the commercial sector come to realise that this project is not going to damage their business, but could potentially enhance it by raising awareness of and interest in archival footage.
But I think that it is a good step along the way to a more open attitude towards content. It is a toe in the water, which is far preferable to the attitude of most of the industry players, who are simply burying their heads in the sand and hoping that lawsuits and lobbying for new legislation will bolster their out-dated business plan.
- It's a nice project, but it is flawed - for the moment at least. The 'UK Only' section of the licence doesn't make sense in a world where information moves between continents in seconds, and where it is difficult for the average user to exclude visitors based on geography.
- The creative industries have lived in a world where they controlled the distribution of content and could easily create artificial scarcity, and they are struggling to understand their position in a world of abundance. Music, film, text - it is all more freely and widely available now than ever before. As the creative industries very slowly begin to realise that this is an opportunity, not a threat, and that you can make more money by opening up than locking down, they will start to release more and more content.
If you have any other comments on the CA project, feel free to add them too.
- In many ways, they have to, because if they don't make their stuff available, someone else will.
- I am broadly supportive of the Creative Archive project. It is moving ahead in a rights landscape which is a veritable minefield. Many old-school rights holders with whom the BBC must negotiate fail to see the opportunities, and their decisions are based on misunderstanding and fear. There is a very long way to go before the Creative Archive realises its potential, but I ferverently hope that it is eventually successful.
If you have any specific questions you think I should add, leave them below...
Thanks for the opportunity, I hope I have not missed your slot.
Q. How do you think the BBC's Archive project will engage with the older generation? - many would no doubt pass on a wealth of knowledge given the chance, perhaps as our society goes digital many, if not most, of out senior citizens will remain isolated.