Broadcasting & Cable: C-SPAN Loosens Copyright for Some Content Online. C-SPAN is loosening its copyright policy on some material for online use, saying it wants to expand citizens’ access to online video of congressional hearings, White House activities, and other government-sponsored events.
Progress, but C-SPAN’s behavior has been a bit obnoxious, and the proof will be in the actual policies it puts forward.
The network had been claiming it owned the material it showed from floor debates, which are captured by government cameras, not C-SPAN’s — a blatant misuse of copyright, given that nothing from the federal government can be copyrighted.
And it’s good business, perhaps, but lousy citizenship given C-SPAN’s nonprofit status and existence due to government-granted monopolies, that the network was copyrighting the tapes it made at committee hearings.
What we need, of course, is the widespread of cameras inside all committee rooms. Everything should be archived at the least, and even better web-cast as it’s occurring. The public pays for these folks to make laws and exercise oversight; we should have access, unfettered access, to what they do.