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Month: August 2003

More on the BBC’s online archive

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.

New Bridge, Old Bridge

City Comforts describes an innovative project in the US to turn an overpass into a normal street.

City Comforts Blog: Hello Columbus to the I-670 Cap

Of course, those with a sense of history will know that this is far from a new concept. Only a few centuries ago, London’s Bridges were covered with buildings in exactly this manner. Still it’s an interesting idea and one I’ve stored away for potential use in Estates Gazette at some point.

Credit where credit’s due

Interesting entry in the blog:

Anders Jacobsen’s blog: Journalist = bad blogger?

In essence, the blogger submitted some information to a journalist, but was uncredited in the article that was published. He asks the question:

Do “real” journalists have less netiquette than webloggers, or is this just business as usual?

The answers in the comments are depressingly predictable and clueless.

The answer is, of course, it depends on the journalist, the editor he’s writing for and the publication’s style. Anders bemoans the lack of a link back to him: it could be that providing external links is against the publication’s policy. He mentions the lack of credit: often, while researching a story, journalists are bombarded with the same information again and again. In the end, only those who were directly quoted in the story are generally credited. Otherwise, the whole feature would be nothing but a long name-check.

Anders at least asks the question. His commenters show the typically depressing blogger mindset of treating us journalists like a monolithic social block that all behave the same way. Yet if any journalist should dare to describe bloggers in the same way, all hell breaks loose…

BBC archive to be online?

I use the question mark in the above headline advisedly. You see, the world and her husband are busy getting excited about the fact that Greg Dyke has said that the BBC intends to put its massive archive online, for free.

I find it interesting that he makes no reference to the massive, complicated issue of artists’ rights that doing this would involve. The BBC already lets you listen to recently broadcast radio shows online, but only allows it for a limited period, because of issues with artists’ rights. Until the Beeb has negotiated some sort of sea change in the way actors and presenters are paid for their work, it’ll be a long time before we see Mr Dyke’s pledge coming true.

Indeed, most of the current negotiations in the field are for the release of BBC DVDs and CDs. Can you really see our state-funded broadcaster giving up that additional revenue stream so easily?

One promise to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt, I think.

Significantly more positive takes on the situation can be found at Hangingday [Link Dead] and Oblomovka [via Population: One]. All make good point but I still think they’ve let themselves get carried away by the possibilities, rather than the huge obstacles. I’m not going to treat this seriously until we hear how the BBC has resolved the actors’ residual fees issue, or announced that only a tiny, limited selection of the archive will be available.

House Prices

I’m looking at a pile of cuttings right now. We get these once or twice a day in the office and I’ve fallen behind in going through them for one reason or another. In particular, I’m looking at a page from last Monday, with cuttings from two seperate papers. The two headlines?

Housing market pick-up lessens negative equity fear


House prices stall as bubble effect fades

Well, that’s cleared things up.

Lads Love Lara Too Much

Angelina Jolie as Lara CraftOne of my colleagues thoughtfully left a copy of The Sun is the office loo today. Inside was a quite marvellous article outlining how Lara Croft is destroying relationships because men lust after her and not their girlfriends.

Our favourite tabloid is quite happy to print pictures of the voluptuous Lady Croft, both the live action and digital versions, while condemning her as a cyber marriage wrecker. The article is, of course, nonsense.

Ladies, I’ll let you into a secret. Any man who’d rather waggle away on his Playstation rather than have sex with you is either not worth having any more or has lost interest in you anyway. Consider it a lucky escape.

Deconstructing Office Trends

Brian Micklethwait, oft of Samizdata, has an interesting entry over on his Culture Blog, replying to elements of the Office Trends magazine I edited earlier this year.

As we start laying out the first issue of its replacement, GRID. it’s interesting to see what a lay person thinks of the mag.

In answer to one of his questions, the online version of Office Trends, such that it is, lurks behind the barrier of a subscription to the Estates Gazette Group online service, EGi.

City Comforts has commented on the issue, too.