The Creative Archive Licence will give a new generation of media users legal access to material which they can use to express their creativity and share their knowledge - all completely free of charge.At present the BBC is makng footage from natural history and factual programmes available under the licence, while Channel 4 has commissioned a selection of content.
The Licence has been launched following a commitment in the BBC's Building Public Value document, in which it pledged to "help establish a common resource which will extend the public's access while protecting the commercial rights of intellectual property owners."
The hope is that pilot download schemes, to be launched by the partners, will help fuel creativity activity across Britain, as people utilise the footage in personal projects, classroom presentations and their own artistic creations.
The BFI will be releasing silent comedy, early literary adaptations, newsreel footage and archive footage of British cities in the early 20th century.
Copyright issues for modern drama and comedy footage have yet to be resolved.
In the latest issue of the Writers' Guild's magazine, UK Writer, Guild General Secretary Bernie Corbett warns writers against using Creative Commons licenses and advises them to hang on to their rights.