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Classic news clips make BBC site debut

From England's World Cup win to the Berlin Wall's fall, British media company offers free video for noncommercial purposes.

The BBC is allowing Internet users to download and edit news clips featuring some of the biggest events of the last 50 years.

The 80 bulletins cover events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, crowds ejecting soldiers from Beijing's Tiananmen Square and behind-the-scenes footage of the England team before its World Cup victory in 1966.

The clips have been made freely available under the terms of the "Creative Archive Licence."

The license allows people within the United Kingdom to watch, download and edit the clips and programming for noncommercial purposes.

People interested in "being creative" with BBC material will be free to download and mix that footage, and to "use it as the fuel for their own creative endeavors," the British media company said.

The footage is now at the BBC News Open News Archive and is available in the QuickTime, Windows Media, MPEG1 and MP3 formats.

"This trial is an important step in allowing us to share with our audiences the extraordinary news archive which the BBC has recorded over the years. We look forward to getting their reaction," BBC News director Helen Boaden said in a statement.

The BBC will be releasing more content across other areas of its Web site in the coming months.

Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.