A message from BASA member Stephen Bourne:
Re: the high cost of images from the BBC Photograph Library
Some of you may recall that I raised this earlier this year. The BBC charged me £152.75 for a single image from their archive for my book Mother Country - Britain's Black Community on the Home Front 1939-45 and a further £105.75 to use the same image on the cover (Una Marson and Learie Constantine at a BBC microphone). Total: £258.50. This was excessive, compared to other archives that I used. Regrettably I had to jettison some other wonderful BBC images from Mother Country because of the high costs.
On 31 October I wrote to Mark Thompson, the BBC's Director General, and today he replied:
"I can appreciate your points about the cost of using photographs from the BBC's archive......We do recognise that our existing cost model is high in comparison to others in the industry and that there is a need to improve the situation. It is for this reason that we are currently in discussions with our Fair Trading, Regulatory and Legal and Editorial compliance units with a view to licensing our material to a third party. This is with an aim to both improving access to our photo collection for commercial activities, bringing our charges into line with the rest of the photo industry and opening up the archive to the public."
However, I was disappointed that Mr Thompson failed to address another issue I raised with him: the BBC's failure to acknowledge the black contribution to WW2 during the recent commemorations of the 1940 Blitz and other WW2 anniversaries; and that Mother Country did not receive any coverage by the BBC (except for a couple of radio interviews).