The BBC, Channel 4, the British Film Institute and the Open University have launched the Creative Archive Licence, providing public access to media content from some of the largest film, television and radio archives in the UK.
The four partners now want other media organisations to join the Creative Archive Licence, which will pave the way for free and legal downloading of selected material from the internet.
The Licence has been launched following a commitment in the BBC's Building Public Value document, in which it pledged to "help establish a common resource which will extend the public's access while protecting the commercial rights of intellectual property owners".
BBC director-general Mark Thompson said: "The Creative Archive Licence provides a unique solution to one of the key challenges of rights in the digital age, allowing us to increase the public value of our archives by giving people the chance to use video and audio material for their own non-commercial purposes.
"All four partners in the Creative Archive Licence Group feel this is a fantastic opportunity for other broadcasters and rights holders, and we would urge them to join us."
The BBC will initially be making footage from natural history and factual programmes available under the Creative Archive Licence from later this summer. There is a commitment to add extracts from other genres in due course.
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