C-SPAN Changes Copyright Policy after Pelosi Flap
C-SPAN has changes its copyright policy after a flap over Nancy Pelosi’s use of their video.
It turns out that Republicans were right: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did violate C-SPAN’s copyright by using its televised footage on her blog promoting Democrats. Officials for the cable TV network that provides daily gavel-to-gavel coverage of House and Senate proceedings at first said the blog was in violation, then announced it wasn’t. On Wednesday, they said that it was but that they’re changing their policy so that it won’t be in the future.
The new copyright policy will allow non-commercial Internet users to share and post C-SPAN video as long as they attribute it to the public service channel. “Given our background and our history, an open approach is the most consistent with our mission,” said Rob Kennedy, C-SPAN’s president. “We are now saying under the new policy that that will be OK, for her or any blogger or citizen journalist” to post C-SPAN video online.
Indeed, the idea that the televised proceedings of the House of Representatives should be copyrighted, let alone that the Speaker of the House wouldn’t have fair use rights, is idiotic. For reasons of efficiency, C-SPAN is the only media outlet allowed to videotape and broadcast the daily proceedings of Congress. If they’re going to have the right to restrict the use of that material, that privilege should be rescinded.
Kennedy’s statement and the report are somewhat at odds. He says “any blogger or citizen journalist” will have the right to post C-SPAN content. Yet the report says only “non-commercial Internet users” will have this right. Given that most blogs have advertising, are we “non-commercial”? Or are even commercial blogs covered but some types of commercial enterprises not?