BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

29 October 2014
Press Office
Search the BBC and Web
Search BBC Press Office

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Creative Archive Licence Group

BBC, Channel 4, British Film Institute and OU issue call to action for the Creative Archive Licence

Media and arts organisations, universities and libraries have today been urged to join an innovative new scheme designed to give the public access to footage and sound from some of the largest film, television and radio archives in the UK, as well as specially commissioned material.

The BBC, Channel 4, the British Film Institute (bfi) and the Open University (OU) have today launched the Creative Archive Licence, which will pave the way for legal downloading of selected material from the internet.

At a launch seminar in London today, the four partners in the Creative Archive Licence Group issued a call for action for other organisations to join them.

The appeal has already produced a positive response, with Teachers' TV and Arts Council England committing themselves to work with the Creative Archive Licence.

The Creative Archive Licence will give a new generation of media users legal access to material which they can use to express their creativity and share their knowledge - all completely free of charge.

The Licence has been launched following a commitment in the BBC's Building Public Value document, in which it pledged to "help establish a common resource which will extend the public's access while protecting the commercial rights of intellectual property owners."

The hope is that pilot download schemes, to be launched by the partners, will help fuel creativity activity across Britain as people utilise the footage in personal projects, classroom presentations and their own artistic creations.

In the long term the aim is that some of those creations can be uploaded back on to the website from where the content was obtained, to be shared with others across the internet.

The Creative Archive Licence offers a revolutionary approach to the rights issues that often affect the use of archive material.

The Creative Archive Licence will allow people to download and use footage and audio for non-commercial purposes. Each user will agree to abide by the licence conditions before gaining access to any of the available material.

The Creative Archive Licence scheme aims to:

Pioneer a new, more refined approach to rights in the digital age

Encourage the establishment of a public domain of audio-visual material

Help stimulate the growth of the creative economy in the UK

Establish a model for others in the industry and public sector to follow

Exemplify a new, open relationship between the four partners in the pilot schemes and other industry players

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

The four members of the Creative Archive Licence Group hope it will represent a major watershed in public access to film, TV, radio archives and digital content for personal use, and today issued a major call to action.

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, allowing us to increase the public value of our archives by giving people the chance to use video and audio material for their own non-commercial purposes.

"All four partners in the Creative Archive Licence Group feel this is a fantastic opportunity for other broadcasters and rights holders, and we would urge them to join us."

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.

"Our focus with the Creative Archive Licence is forward-looking and enabling as we look to showcase originated content, providing a platform for new creative expression."

Amanda Nevill, Director of the British Film Institute, said: "The Creative Archive Licence gives UK citizens increased opportunities to access and engage with moving image material from the bfi National Film and Television Archive.

"The project is an important step forward in enabling people to create their own works and explore the potential of digital film-making."

Brenda Gourley, Vice-Chancellor of the Open University, said: "As a leader in distance learning, the Open University has a large archive of unique teaching material. From this we will offer a selection of material which we encourage people to engage with in a creative way.

"We hope this will widen access to our learning material. We also hope that people will put their creative work back into the archive, thereby growing its benefits."

The BBC has today launched a communications site for the Creative Archive Licence Scheme at


This site will announce news of material as it becomes available from all the partners in the scheme, and provide relevant links to material on their sites.


The site will also seek feedback from organisations and the public on the Licence scheme.

Each of the partners in the Creative Archive Licence Group will this year launch pilot schemes to make material for download available under the Licence.

The BBC will initially be making footage from natural history and factual programmes available under the Creative Archive Licence from later this summer. There is a commitment to add extracts from other genres in due course.

Channel 4 has previously commissioned a selection of content which it will make available for use under the Creative Archive Licence.


Content includes specially commissioned establishing shots and general views (GVs) available via Channel 4's broadband documentary channel, FourDocs, alongside copyright-cleared video clips for VJs currently available via its IDEASFACTORY creative careers site and other material from Channel 4 Education.

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

A small number of clips will be available in the first instance but further material will be added over the course of the pilot. For further details visit:

The OU's pilot scheme will be making available video and audio teaching material from a range of genres including geography, science and history, as well as footage from the popular OU & BBC series Rough Science.

The material the OU will be making available is well recognised in the higher education sector, and helped place the OU at the forefront of the learning revolution. For more information visit:

In addition, Teachers' TV - which already offers downloads of its programmes - will be releasing its content under the Creative Archive Licence for a pilot period, and Arts Council England will fund two fellowships for artists to work with material released under the Creative Archive Licence.



Category: BBC
Date: 13.04.2005
Printable version

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy