The BBC is working on an ambitious plan to put nearly 1 million hours of it’s audio and video archives online and there is some fascinating stuff here.
Some of the highlights include an interview with Martin Luther King Jr. that aired on the day he was assassinated in April 1968. In the interview King says: ‘The important thing isn’t how long you live, but how well you live.’
As a music buff, I’m also interested in the John Lennon/Yoko Ono interview that was broadcast in January 1981 and never heard again.
Technically, archiving the material is not a problem. However, the Beeb is running into hurdles negotiating copyright clearance for some of the archives. Despite owning the copyright and having rights to originally broadcast the show, it looks like they do not have the right to repeat many of them. So the time consuming process of negotiating with actors, agents, composers and presenters is throwing up some hurdles.
The educational value of this material is immense. Unfortunately for those of us outside the U.K., it looks like the archives will only be available to licence-fee payers free of charge. No word on whether there will be a fee charged for those users outside of the licence-fee area.