March 7, 2007 | By Fred von Lohmann

C-SPAN Unchains Congressional Hearing Videos

C-SPAN has announced that, effective immediately, its videos of Congressional hearings, White House briefings, and other federal events will be freely available for noncommercial copying, sharing and posting, so long as attribution is included (sounds like the Creative Commons by-nc license, but no confirmation on whether that's what they are using). According to the C-SPAN press release, the move recognizes that we're in "an age of explosive growth of video file sharers, bloggers and online citizen journalists."

This is fantastic news! A considerable helping of the credit belongs to Carl Malamud, who responded to a copyright kerfuffle involving House Speaker Nanci Pelosi's use of C-SPAN hearing footage by writing an open letter to C-SPAN's CEO Brian Lamb challenging him to open up the archives to enable these kinds of public uses of C-SPAN content. Several meetings later, it appears C-SPAN decided to rise to the challenge.

Kudos to Carl, and kudos to C-SPAN. This is an amazing bit of public service all around. (Full disclosure: EFF represented Carl in connection with this issue, but we hardly lifted a finger -- all credit goes to Carl.)

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