UCL’s ERA (Educational Recording Agency) licence enables recording of broadcast TV and radio for educational purposes: programmes are delivered through the searchable database BoB (Box of Broadcasts). For more about the ERA licence and BoB, and how they can be used to support teaching, see this previous blog post on ‘TV and radio in teaching‘.
The ERA licence has a regional restriction and programmes can only be viewed from within the UK. At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic the ERA negotiated with their rights holders to extend this where possible for UK students who have had to return to their home countries.
- Since March, UK students who have returned home to any EU Member State have been able to access BoB.
- Recently an additional extension was granted to UK students who have returned home overseas, for BBC News 24 content only. BBC News 24 contains rolling news stories, documentaries and programmes such as Panorama and Our World.
- Both these extensions are due to end on 31st July 2020. The ERA recognise that universities would like this extended further, and are in talks with rights holders to extend this beyond July.
How does this work in practice for UCL students? BoB has used technical measures to relax GEOIP restrictions so that wherever a UCL student is (in the UK, EU or beyond that) they will be able to search and view the whole of the BoB database, but only play back items that they are permitted to view.
Rights clearance for broadcast TV is very complex, with even BBC programmes containing third party content which needs to be individually cleared. The ERA continue to negotiate for more of the archive to be available abroad and will make it available through BoB as it becomes possible.
If you have any particular requests of material for programmes you teach on please email us and we will collect requests and suggestions to pass on to the ERA. Please note that the extension into the EU has been made possible by the EU portability directive, however this directive will cease to be available to the UK after the end of 2020 when the UK leaves the EU.
If you have questions about the ERA licence and its use, it is administered by UCL Library Services and you can contact us using the UCL Copyright email address.
Further reading: statements from the ERA