Danny O'Brien's got a good editorian in the Guardian today, explaining the BBC's Creative Archive project:
The BBC, in theory, shouldn't care how many times you share a copy of, say, Dixon of Dock Green. On the contrary, it should thank you. You're taking the hard work - and cost - out of distributing the works you have already paid for with your licence fee. So not only does the BBC not need to care about Napster and other file-sharing systems - it can actively take advantage of them. Distributing content in this way does not reduce the BBC's income, but it can reduce its costs. Copy protection devices and clampdowns on internet copying just get in the way of the BBC's mission.
Of course, simply allowing anyone to download and copy the BBC's output has its problems. While broadcasts are free, the BBC makes money selling DVDs and tapes of its work, and reselling to other countries. Not a great deal of money - less than 5% of the £3bn it receives in licence fees - but some.
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