If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, you already know that the BBC has a bad track record of losing and even intentionally destroying old content. With so many efforts to recover and restore these lost television archives, you’d think they would have learned a lesson about keeping good back ups and long term records of the content they produce.
As it turns out, this lesson hasn’t found its way to the BBC’s website management team. On the chopping block are more than a hundred websites set for deletion, because apparently, the server space has gotten too expensive? There’s a great analysis at Adactio, so if you want to see the entire tragedy unfold be sure to read up there.
There doesn’t seem to be any great explanation for this except for a failure to value the lessons of history – or that old content that becomes a record of history itself.
In the mean time, users around the web are downloading leached copies of the current BBC server, and before too long it is likely that you’ll see this popping up on various peer to peer file sharing sites. And if the rights holder is actually willing to delete the data, I doubt they’d have much standing to contest who downloads it or uses it after that fact. In a case like this or the Geocities closure, the consequences of obeying the strict interpretation of copyright might cause work and information to vanish completely.
So why is this posted in hosting, anyway? Because holding on to your archives and old posts is worth way more than what it costs to keep them online. In this particular case, don’t follow BBC’s lead!