The Smithsonian Institue is teaming up with Showtime Networks to form Smithsonian Networks. The joint venture has the aim of developing television programming for a new cable channel called Smithsonian on Demand. At first thought that sounds pretty cool as they may produce some quality documentaries using the large archives of material contained in the Smithsonian, but a lot of people don’t see it that way. A part of the deal is the restriction of access to content in the public archives, and that would essentially kill the production of many documentaries before it ever begins. The Smithsonian claims they need the money badly and would not be able to continue on without more cash flowing in. I can see the reasoning for both sides of the argument, but it’s still a sad turn of events.

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