There’s an interesting piece in The Guardian‘s Online section today, discussing the online archive in more depth.
I think this is the most interesting section:
Last Sunday, Greg Dyke changed that. He revealed that the BBC is planning to digitise and offer for download, for free, as much of its back catalogue of programmes that it can legally do, from the earliest radio reels to nature documentaries to educational programmes. Anyone will be allowed to re-use, re-edit and mix this material with their own, provided it’s for non-commercial use.
“radio reels”, “nature documentaries”, “education programmes”? Ah, much becomes clear. Not only is the commercial market for those very much small than, say, episodes of Dr Who or Walking With Dinosaurs, it’s significantly more simple to sort out the licensing for online distribution.
I revise my earlier opinion. I expect this to happen sooner rather than later, but don’t expect to see much, if any, of the Beeb’s drama and comedy output on there.