BBC TechCrunch Debate

Last night was the debate at the BBC, it was held in the relatively small council chamber in Broadcasting House. I am not going to provide a summary of the whole thing as Mike Butcher has already done this but I am going to talk about a few things I found particularly interesting.

I mentioned previously that I would like the BBC to make available there entire catalogue of programs for people to watch or develop with, I found out last night that this is never going to happen because of rights. The BBC doesn't own the rights to anything other than some of its radio shows so it can't make them available for commercial or non commercial use; what does this leave the BBC with that it could release, apparently quite a lot.
What was talked about a lot was the other types of data the BBC has, the BBC has and is making available at the moment general information about its programs, it is doing this through a fascinating system of linked articles. Eventually the plan is to have an automatically generated page for every program or even episode that contains details such as which pieces of music were played, these would then be linked to a page on the piece of music which would display all the shows and events where it has been used. This data would be made available through a variety of open formats for external use, there was also talk of linking it through to services like so if you liked the music in a particular program you could go and listen to more like it. In addition to this type of data the BBC also has a lot of statistical data such as viewer numbers and other similar things which it does own and could open up.

One little fact which did emerge came from Tom Loosemore who was from Ofcom, he was talking about the government and its data and Ordnance Survey came up, they are a public service company but because of the way they are setup they have to make money this is why all there mapping data costs, he seemed to suggest that over the next few years this may be changed and all there services will be opened up for free or at cost. I have used various OS maps in the past and this would be an amazing thing if it happens, I suspect it would also mean mapping services like Google Maps would be able to integrate the much more detailed maps making the purchase of MultiMap by Microsoft even more pointless.

This will be an interesting area to watch, I doubt much will happen over the next few years but we will hopefully move to a state where companies like the BBC and even the government make all of there data publicly available in an open way.