Constitutional requirements

The activities of BBC R&D are constitutionally required of the BBC Royal Charter and the legal agreement between the BBC and the government, which expands the detailed points therein.

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    The Royal Charter

    Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by Command of Her Majesty October 2006

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  • Extract from The Royal Charter, Clause 87

    The BBC’s research obligations:

    (1) The Executive Board must ensure that the BBC conducts research and development activities geared to the promotion of the BBC’s Public Purposes and which aim to maintain the BBC’s position as a centre of excellence for research and development in broadcasting and other means for the electronic distribution of audio, visual and audiovisual material, and in related technologies.

    (2) In carrying out its function under paragraph (1), the Executive Board must pay particular attention to the desirability of supporting actively in national and international forums the development of “open standards” (that is to say, technologies where opportunities to participate in their creation and to use them are made widely available, free of charge or on terms that must be fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory).

    (3) These activities should be conducted both within the BBC and in co-operation with suitable partners, such as university departments and businesses which are active in relevant fields of research and development or the practical application of the fruits of such research and development.

    (4) The Executive Board must keep the BBC’s research and development activities under review, and must (in particular) ensure that an appropriate balance is struck between—

    1. (a) the potential for generating revenue through commercial exploitation of its intellectual property, and
    2. (b) the value that might be delivered to licence fee payers and the UK economy by making new developments widely and openly available.