Thoughts on BBC News

Here’s some not entirely worked through ideas about broadcast, radio and TV news.  In the past month the BBC News operation has become the story in Scotland because it issued ‘Take Down’ requests to YouTube over the use of what it claims are it’s clips on channels run by two pro-indy blog/news sites. This got me thinking a bit about copyright and ‘news’ reports.  And how we find ‘news’ and stories from the past.

Newspapers have been filed in major libraries for decades and decades.  It  used to be that you could go to a major library and search micro-fiche copies of practically every newspaper ever printed to find the stories you were looking for.  And there you had the ability to read a story as it was being reported,  over a period of time, by various journalists and newspapers.   So the  ideas of how  copyright should operate for printed newspapers has been well developed over decades and  decades.  And now  we have a scandal involving the BBC’s broadcast news.   Why is this?  We have only relatively recently developed a capability for broadcast, as opposed to published, news to be recorded and stored.  Previously anything broadcast, radio or TV, was ephemeral. So a news report was gone as soon as the broadcast was over. The only possible copy of that broadcast was with the broadcaster.  So if I wanted to find out what the BBC was broadcasting on the day I was born the only place I could perhaps  find out would be from the BBC.   But now we have technology available  for all of us, in our mobile phones and laptops, which lets any  one of us easily record whatever broadcast we want.  Then, thanks to blogs and YouTube, we can publish the recorded news.  The BBC’s broadcast News operation is having to face a problem which printed news operations solved years ago.   Copyright is claimed to be a problem for the BBC news operation, yet it’s obviously solved for print media.  The ease with which audio and  even video can be edited is something to be considered though.  But, for me,  broadcast news should have no more copyright than printed news.  I can search for archives of newspapers, I should be able to search archives of broadcast news just as easily.  So either the broadcaster has to provide this facility or I should be freely permitted to to do it myself using either my own tools or common freely available tools.  i.e. I can record news broadcasts and keep them for as long as I like or I can search somewhere like YouTube.

Pat Kane (@thoughtland on Twitter) has written an interesting article about the ‘Digital Public Space’ .  I like the idea.  It would solve many of the issues I’m thinking of.  You can read Pat’s article here –


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