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3/7/2007
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C-SPAN Shares More Of Its Video Online

Television station adopts liberal copyright policy based on a popular licensing format.

Acknowledging the growing importance of online video sharing, C-SPAN on Wednesday announced two initiatives to expand public access to its online video of federal government activities, such as congressional hearings, agency briefings, and White House events.

The first is a more liberal copyright policy. The second is a plan to offer better online access to C-SPAN video content through its CapitolHearings.org Web site.

"C-SPAN did a really, really good thing today," observed author, professor, and entrepreneur Carl Malamud in an e-mail sent to David Farber's Interesting People mailing list. "Our public civic life will be much richer because of [its] actions."

"Giving voice to the average citizen has been a centerpiece of C-SPAN's journalism since our network's founding in 1979," Rob Kennedy, C-SPAN president and co-chief operating officer, said in a statement. "As technology advances, we want to continue to be a leader in providing citizens with the tools to be active participants in the democratic process."

C-SPAN's new copyright policy was inspired by the Creative Commons license. It allows noncommercial copying, sharing, and posting of C-SPAN video on the Internet, as long as C-SPAN is identified as the source. The new policy covers current, future, and past video of "any official events sponsored by Congress and any federal agency." C-SPAN's studio productions and coverage of nonfederal events, political campaigns, and other feature programming remain under traditional copyright protection.

C-SPAN intends to improve its CapitolHearings portal with congressionally produced Web casts and other content in the coming months.

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