While BBC Wants To Kill Off A Bunch Of Websites, Geeks Quickly Archive Them

from the internet-to-the-rescue dept

Last month, the BBC announced its intention to kill off a bunch of websites, including Douglas Adams’ old stomping grounds, H2G2. Apparently some of the sites were going to be archived, and others weren’t — but as you may know, the BBC does not have the greatest of reputations when it comes to archiving old material. However, this is the internet. If someone announces they are going to get rid of something that other people would like saved, there are tools to save it. Glyn Moody points us to a note from Ben Goldacre about how some “anonymous nerd” archived all of the sites the BBC is set to take down (it cost him a whopping $3.99) and he’s now set that archive free, so you, too, can help make sure this content lives on. The whole thing is available via a torrent file at http://178.63.252.42/, which also has a description of the project, so have at it.

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Comments on “While BBC Wants To Kill Off A Bunch Of Websites, Geeks Quickly Archive Them”

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13 Comments
Duke (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Once again we see that copyright is not about protecting content (as some people occasionally try to claim); quite the reverse. It is copyright infringement (even if just archiving like this, or the Internet Archive etc.) that protects content.

And the Doctor Who tapes is a slightly different issue; that was about the BBC not having enough money due to excessive copyright stuff (during the “home taping” scare of the 70s/80s). Incidentally, Doctor Who actually survived quite well (the audio for all episodes remains, and some sort of video or stills for most); Z-Cars, in particular, was very badly hit by this, with about half of all episodes missing.

Peet McKimmie (profile) says:

Re: Re: BBC Kill Off

Yup. That is a phenomenally irritating habit of the BBC’s.

They have a selection of websites each with its own font size, but because they’re all “bbc.co.uk” most browsers will apply the same magnification to each.

So, if you have a site open in a tab, look at a different site and need to zoom the text up, when you return to the original tab the site is “broken”. (New BBC “Design guidelines” mean that most of the sites have text enclosed in fixed-size panels, so if you zoom it up the bottom couple of lines disappears…)

Kaotik4266 (profile) says:

Re: Re: BBC Kill Off

And even if it was the case that they had to pay for domain names for all 200 sites, it would cost just under ?1250GBP a year (?6.21/domain) if they bought them off Go Daddy, assuming they couldn’t get some kind of bulk discount and they used .co.uk domains (Go Daddy doesn’t list a bulk discount for .co.uk domains). If they used Go Daddy’s .info domains and got the bulk discount they could do it for less than ?1000 a year (?4.96/domain) which is about the cost of a MacBook Pro. It’s not negligible, but neither is it exactly a huge outlay for the BBC.
(Also, these are the renewal prices, not the heavily discounted first year prices which, for .info, come to less than ?50).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What bizarre logic.

Let’s say I am a painter, and I offer lithographs for sale. I sell some, and then decide no longer to do it. Would the images on the website suddenly become public domain because I close the website down? What happened to my rights as an artist? Did putting it on the internet at all suddenly put my future rights at risk?

What strange logic you use.

RadoxTheGreen says:

Re: Re: Re:

What if you are an artist who has put his work in a gallery for the world to see only for the gallery to then lock away your work and destroy it so nobody including yourself ever get to see it again? What if you are a writer who has dedicated ten years of their life to putting work on a site that is about to be pulled down?

One of the sites is one where people were encouraged to recount their experiences during world war 2. Many of those who contributed are dead now. Don’t those peoples families have the right to read the work that their loved ones left for them on what they were told was a site to record their memories for posterity?

Those memories would be lost forever if someone didn’t step in and do something like this. The person who created this torrent deserves a medal. It’s not like the BBC care about the sites anyway, they are about to junk them.

I have work of my own on h2g2. Hopefully that site will continue in some form but it makes no difference to me whether someone reads my work on a website or from a torrent download (although if the site continues it will have the most up to date version), so long as my work is still readable by others. I think most of us who are affected by these closures probably feel that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As the artist, when I sell my work (if the gallery bought it), I no longer control it. I gave away all of the rights, including the right to burn it for heat if they so desire.

One of the sites is one where people were encouraged to recount their experiences during world war 2. Many of those who contributed are dead now. Don’t those peoples families have the right to read the work that their loved ones left for them on what they were told was a site to record their memories for posterity?

Yes, and you have the right tomorrow to pull it down and no longer display the content. You own it.

Were you paid for your work on H2G@ or did you assign it to them in some manner? Did you retain rights on the originals? If you did work for hire, you don’t really have rights to it, do you?

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