Credit where credit is due. I respect C-Span's desire to keep control of their copyright, but anything that allows us more access and transparency in government can only be a good thing.
C-SPAN announced yesterday, in this press release, that they are adopting a new copyright policy:
C-SPAN is introducing a liberalized copyright policy for current, future, and past coverage of any official events sponsored by Congress and any federal agency-- about half of all programming offered on the C-SPAN television networks--which will allow non-commercial copying, sharing, and posting of C-SPAN video on the Internet, with attribution.
This comes after a controversy involving the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), posting a minute of video from a House committee hearing shot by C-SPAN, on her blog, The Gavel. Until yesterday's announcement, C-SPAN claimed rights to all video footage they shoot in committee hearings, but considered footage shot on the House and Senate floor, public domain.
In the wake of the controversy, Carl Malamud distributed a compelling open letter to C-SPAN President and CEO Brian Lamb, arguing that Pelosi was within her rights to assert fair usage of the material and requesting that C-SPAN "release all of that material back into the public domain where it belongs." Which, of course, is exactly what C-SPAN is now announcing they plan to do.