The BBC plans to put parts of its extensive television and radio archives online.
The move, announced in a speech earlier this week by BBC boss Greg Dyke, will make selected BBC-owned material available for private use in the UK.
This resource has remained locked up until now because there hasn't been an effective mechanism for distribution, but digital technologies and broadband communications are changing that situation, Dyke said, speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival.
The project, known internally as the BBC Creative Archive, will allow viewers to adapt content for their own use under a simple licensing system.
The idea is still in its early stages, according to a BBC spokeswoman, so few additional details are available. She could not say how many programs would be involved, or in what format and using what technology they would be distributed. Despite the project's name, it will focus principally on factual programming, she said.
Dyke suggested the archive would be used by school children preparing presentations for their classes. They will be able to download video clips using the broadband connections found in libraries, schools or in their own homes, and incorporate them into project work.
The archive project is a way of giving back to the public what already belongs to them, Dyke said, as the BBC's programs are developed with public money.