Apparently the BBC's new charter has some info on the BBC opening up their archives via the power of broadband:
"The BBC Creative Archive will establish a pool of high-quality content
which can be legally drawn on by collectors, enthusiasts, artists,
musicians, students, teachers and many others, who can search and use this
material non-commercially. And where exciting new works and products are
made using this material, we will showcase them on BBC services.
Initially we will release factual material, beginning with extracts from
natural history programmes. As demand grows, we are committed to extending
the Creative Archive across all areas of our output.
We are developing this unique initiative in partnership with other major
public and commercial audio-visual collections in the UK, including
leading museums and libraries. Our ambition is to help establish a common
resource which will extend the public’s access while protecting the
commercial rights of intellectual property owners."
How long until a privately-funded company can or will do this?