The British Broadcasting Corporation’s Creative Archive, one of the most ambitious free digital content projects to date, is set to launch this fall with thousands of three-minute clips of nature programming.

The effort could goad other organizations to share their professionally produced content with Web users.

The project, announced last year, will make thousands of audio and video clips available to the public for noncommercial viewing, sharing and editing. It will debut with natural-history programming, including clips that focus on plants, animals and birds.

“The Creative Archive is fuel for the creative nation,” said Paula Le Dieu, co-director of the initiative. “It allows people to download these excerpts and be able to edit them and incorporate them into their own creative works.”

Other organizations, including some small music publishers in the United States, have begun to offer their content to users under liberal licensing terms. In contrast to record companies and Hollywood — which are trying to lock down their content with help from legislators — these organizations believe that liberal licensing terms will generate even more interest in their content. In fact, in the BBC’s case, access to its programming archive is part of its charter. In the United Kingdom, anyone who owns a television must pay a BBC-allocated fee, so the public owns its programming.

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