Harry Hutton says I’m a hooah. Harry Hutton is right; Harry Hutton can also go and fuck himself.

Scaryduck is also a hooah. However, his impassioned defence of the BBC is well worth a read. And apparently they’re scheduled to have their entire broadcast archive on line by the end of 2005, which would be (approximately) The Best Thing Ever.

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6 thoughts on “Whoring

  1. John, where on earth did you get that idea from?

    If it was Greg Dyke circa the 2003 Edinburgh Television Festival, the BBC has been hit with a rather massive reality check since then.

    I completely agree that it would be (approximately) the Best Thing Ever, but just ask yourself how likely it is that Equity, the Performing Rights Society, the BBC’s trading arm, their various co-production partners (or indeed the outright copyright holders – just to give one single example, the BBC doesn’t own Blackadder, despite it being one of their flagship comedy successes), and numerous other interested parties would be to agree to this kind of thing.

    And if the answer isn’t already "very unlikely indeed", ask yourself how long it would take merely to negotiate all the relevant contracts on a per-programme basis… even before you start to think about the logistics of digitising everything merely in terms of timescale (let alone resources, bandwidth, etc.).

    The Creative Archive is a wonderful idea in theory, but anyone who seriously thinks this means that more than the tiniest fraction of the BBC’s output is going to be put online as a result is as deluded as some of my more excitable regular correspondents at work. I’ve spent the past three years trying to do something very similar with the contents of the National Film and Television Archive, so I wrestle with these issues every single day.

  2. OK, I think I’ve twigged what he’s talking about – I bet this is the project to allow time-limited downloads of current programmes (as opposed to the entire historical archive, much of which notoriously no longer exists anyway), playable only through their new Interactive Media Player, which has instructions to render the files unplayable after a fixed time period.

    Realistically, this is probably the only way to win round unions and rights holders – the concept of an entire moving-image culture being freely available is a wonderful one, but in the real world (or at least that part of it that has to abide by the law, like the BBC, BFI, NFTVA or similar entities) it’s a case of slowly shuffling forwards with the occasional pause for reflection and consultation rather than racing ahead.

    It’s really frustrating at times, not least because of the people who assume that the numerous access restrictions are in place due to sheer bloody-mindedness on our part, as though we have any say in the matter at all!

  3. The time-limited downloads idea is still A Good Thing, and the Creative Archive may be rather limited but still has the potential to be wonderful (I believe the beeb holds the copyright to all of the Peel Sessions, for instance).

  4. Believe me, I’m not criticising the BBC in any way, shape or form (aside from their seeming reluctance to cater for non-Windows users with regard to this new media player, but that’s a side issue). I’m more aware than most of the hurdles they’ve had to overcome even to get this far!

    In all seriousness, if I could turn the clock back twenty years, I might seriously have considered going into intellectual property law – I’d certainly be a damn sight richer if nothing else!

  5. The BBC’s decision to use RealPlayer is a) incredibly lame b) entirely dictated, I’m sure, by the need to keep rights holders happy as you’ve outlined.

    Extending the week-long radio archive thing to TV seems much more plausible as a Thing The BBC Might Do This Year. And it’ll be fucking cool. Word.

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