This year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), our national public broadcaster, is turning 80 years old. To celebrate, the ABC has launched a new website called “80 Days That Changed Our Lives“, giving 80 pieces of audio visual content from the ABC archives a new lease on life. This content includes news reports and interviews recording key moments in Australian history.
With the support and encouragement of CC Australia and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi), the ABC has now gone a step further by choosing to release some of this historical audio visual footage to Wikimedia under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia licence.
You can view the ABC’s collection of CC licensed files – all of which are available to use, remix and share – on Wikimedia Commons. Some of the important pieces of Australian history that now have CC-licensed multimedia include:
- the “Tampa affair” (2001);
- the “Waterfront dispute“, a significant event in Australian industrial relations history (1998);
- the release of Lindy Chamberlain from prison (1986);
- the floating of the Australian currency (1983); and
- the introduction of World Series Cricket (1977).
Intriguingly, the CC licensed clips also include a 1974 interview with the late sci-fi writer and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke, in which he predicts what we now know of as the internet.
While this is the first collection of broadcast “packaged” footage released to Wikimedia Commons under a CC licence, the leader in the field for several years has been Al Jazeera who have been sharing some of their contemporary footage on their own Creative Commons portal. The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has also shared online through its project Open Beelden many historical newsreels that have come into its collection. Both of these collections have since been copied into Wikimedia Commons. Radio y Televisión Argentina has also previously released some of its archival recordings and parliamentary speeches to Wikimedia.
CC Australia is very proud to be part of this groundbreaking initiative, and commends the ABC for taking this important step. We trust that this exciting initiative will encourage other broadcasters, especially those that are publicly funded, to follow ABC’s lead.