Public Broadcasters, Open Content

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Tucked in the middle of

Joly’s initiative needs an even bigger goal to capture the public’s imagination. That could include requiring the CBC to open its content for public reuse (the government is opening its national parks, why not its national content?) or embarking on a comprehensive digitization initiative that provides the foundation for a national digital library.

This is the sort of basic policy thinking that just makes sense. Our community often talks about how publicly-funded science should be liberated. But there is also public media of other varieties, and especially news media which has a huge long-term use in documentary, encyclopedia, and other places for historical context and research.


Indeed. As I wrote on a stale page (emphasis added):

To varying degrees (e.g., in early stages often “allowing” takes the place of “requiring”) the first three forms are being pursued as public policy by the Free/Libre/Open Source Software, Open Access, Open Data, Open Educational Resources, and Open Government movements. But these forms’ potential in those fields has been barely tapped, they have almost not been applied at all as public policy to cultural production, and they are not yet seen as a primary mechanism for reforming knowledge policy and the knowledge economy. Further, (de)regulation with the aim of favoring commons-based production is an almost unknown concept.

When (and if) funders (all levels) begin to demand freedom for funded cultural works in a significant way that’ll be a very good development. As would producing institutions seeing contributing to the commons as a fundamental part of their missions and practices.

Nearly a year ago an essay made the rounds Why Some Public Media Content Should Be Creative Commons Licensed calling for very tactical use of semicommons licenses (“restricted creative commons license” - well put, perhaps unintentionally) by (U.S.) public radio. Why not semi-share more?

I am not advocating that NPR or member stations release all of their content under a Creative Commons license. This would destroy NPR’s business model, which is currently based, in part, on member stations’ paying dues to broadcast their programming.

Yes, copyright concentrates wealth, even among public radio entities.