Historic BBC Programs Rescued From Those Evil Home Copies

from the tale-of-the-tapes dept

The entertainment industry has made a sport of demonizing the perfectly legal act of making personal copies of copyrighted content, from Jack Valenti’s denial of fair use to record labels’ overzealous CD protection schemes. So it’s interesting to see how the BBC has inadvertently given us another reason to appreciate the value of homemade copies. Copyfight notes the story of TV watchers in the UK whose home copies saved lots of early programming the network never kept. Basically, the Beeb reconstructed a historical archive from the collections of old home copies — an allegedly copyright infringing act (the network’s excuse for not paying people for the recovered shows) — and has even profited from it by making a documentary about it and selling some of the old shows on DVDs. So, not only did home copying not destroy the network’s business, it actually (a) made them more money, and (b) preserved valuable content and culture. We might not be so lucky if those who are still pushing for the broadcast flag have their way.

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