It’s with great sadness that we share the news that Donald MacLean, the founder of the British Video Association, has passed away in the same month that the organisation, now known as BASE, marks its 40th anniversary.
As well as being the first chairman of the BVA in 1980, MacLean was also the founding chairman of the Federation Against Copyright Theft in 1983, the Federation Against Software Theft in 1984, the Video Standards Council and the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (now Ukie) both in 1989.
With those organisations coming together to help form the Alliance for Intellectual Property, MacLean was clearly a visionary and instrumental in creating a legacy that continues to champion and protect the broader entertainment category to this day. Typically modest, MacLean recalls his legacy with a generosity of spirit in his highly entertaining blog, stating: “This evening Ann and I will go to a party on the riverside terrace of the Houses of Parliament. It’s the first annual reception of an alliance of 19 organisations in creative fields. I was founder and first chairman of five of them. I’m happy that they are all flourishing and am delighted that Lavinia Carey, the able young lady who directs [the BVA] has succeeded in persuading all of them to collaborate in this Alliance.”
Carey, Director General of the BVA for more than 20 years until 2014, recalls MacLean with affection, stating: “He was a very smart man. My recollections of speaking to Donald revolve around what had or hadn’t changed over the decades between the foundation of the BVA and the last few years of my position as its Director General. Donald had great foresight and wisdom in setting the most important objectives for the new trade association in 1980. He made copyright protection a priority for the industry that has stood the test of time, just as he also set a similarly rigorous focus on video standards.”
Iain Muspratt, member of the BVA founding Board and later Vice Chair and Chair said: “Few achieve the status of ‘Giants’ within their chosen arenas. Donald did just that. Having been a great innovator in television, Donald was instrumental in taking the then fledging and disparate ‘Home Video’ industry and encouraging it to develop its essential flair to become ever more professional – both in its standing with the long established Film and Television sectors and in the responsibilities it had to the wider society it served. Without Donald there would have been no BVA, nor would FACT have been established by merging the efforts in fighting piracy into one organisation, and Statutory Legislation would have been much more severe. Always considered and pragmatic, Donald harnessed all his individual entrepreneurial flair into turning the BVA into the extremely effective and respected organisation it is. We are in his debt and very sorry to lose such a great ‘citizen’ but pleased he had such a long and fulfilling life.”
BASE’s current CEO, Liz Bales, added: “I never had the pleasure of meeting Donald, but we all owe much to his tenacity and prudence in creating an organisation that has endured for more than 40 years and that has consistently played a pivotal role in driving the industry forward as it continues to evolve. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and we will proudly continue to honour his legacy for decades to come.”