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Website may face legal challenge

The BBC's digital curriculum has had a troubled history. It sees developing this area as the next step in meeting its educational remit and maintaining its prominence.

Rival software-makers were taking the BBC to a judicial review in 2003 when the Department for Culture Media and Sports intervened and set strict conditions for the website to protect commercial suppliers. The Department for Education and Skills also tried to soften the BBC project's impact by giving schools more than pound;200 million worth of e-learning credits to spend on competitors' products.

But Dominic Savage, director general of the British Educational Suppliers Association, said that software companies had noticed a recent down-turn in credit spending by schools and feared it was because they were waiting for the BBC's free material.

Mr Savage said: "From what we have seen of it so far we do not think it is going to be distinctive, which means it will not be compliant with the conditions of the DCMS."

He said BESA members would consider whether to take legal action against the BBC in the UK and Brussels once the website was launched.

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