A project which has opened up historic video clips of events including the release of Lindy Chamberlain and the introduction of World Series Cricket has been viewed 1.5 million times in the first month.

The collaborative initiative between the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) at QUT, Creative Commons Australia, the ABC and Wikimedia Commons, has brought footage of Australian culture and history to a global audience for the first time.

The project has released 20 Australian historical video clips from the ABC archives under a Creative Commons licence to Wikimedia Commons, a media file repository that provides freely-licensed educational media content – images, sound and video clips – to everyone.

Professor Brian Fitzgerald, a chief investigator at CCI and board member at Creative Commons, said under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Australia licence, the clips could be copied, edited, remixed and shared, even for commercial purposes, as long as the licence conditions are complied with.

He and QUT Professor Anne Fitzgerald, Creative Commons Australia’s project leader for engagement with the public sector, have been collaborating with the ABC since 2008 to maximise the value of its archival material by licensing it for wider sharing.

They have been working in partnership with ABC Pool, a social media project for online collaboration.

The historic clips made available for reuse include a rare 1974 interview with 2001: A Space Odyssey author Arthur C. Clarke predicting the internet, the introduction of World Series Cricket and the 1998 waterfront confrontation.

The videos appear as part of the ABC 80th anniversary website 80 Days that Changed our Lives.

Professor Brian Fitzgerald said that prior to being launched, the video clips were only found in the ABC archives.

“The recent release of these materials by the ABC is a significant step towards allowing greater public access to Australian culture and history. It has generated considerable interest and is to be applauded,” he said.

“It is crucial for public organizations like the ABC to consider whether they can make more of this publicly-owned material available to the public for access as it is a primary ingredient for social, cultural and economic innovation, and can be used for many purposes, including education and research.

“Providing open access to information means making it free to obtain, to reuse and to share, and Creative Commons plays an important part in promoting this.

“The way that these materials from the ABC archives have been integrated into Wikipedia to reach a far broader audience is a great example of how this can be achieved.”

For our earlier post on this, see this page.