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Speaker Pelosi's Copyright/Trademark Problem

The problem is that at Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi's new blog, The Gavel, features a lot of video, nearly all of which is C-SPAN content.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) released a document about the Speaker's use of copyrighted/trademarked C-SPAN material on a Congressional website today, which was based on conversations that RSC staff had with Barry Katz, the Manager of C-SPAN Video Assets (and the employee identified as being directly responsible for answering questions to Congress about the use of C-SPAN material). Later, Bruce Collins, the Corporate Vice President and General Counsel of C-SPAN, said that the information provided by the C-SPAN employee to the RSC was incorrect. The implication of Collins statement is that Pelosi's use is not a violation of their copyright.

The problem with Collin's statement is that it really flies in the face of C-SPAN's history of sending take-down notices to sites using its content. C-SPAN's web site indicates that you may not stream C-SPAN content, which Pelosi is clearly doing.

C-SPAN does not permit the following uses:


Duplication licenses (ask about bulk copies fees)
Any posting or streaming from an Internet site
Airing on public access or local cable television channels
Fundraising Use
Commercial/Advertising

C-SPAN zealously and actively monitors and protects its intellectual property, including the video it produces and C-SPAN registered service marks and logos. C-SPAN is a private, nonprofit organization. It does not, and never has, received any government funding. C-SPAN video is not in the public domain.

This section from Wikipedia explains how public domain footage comes under C-SPAN's copyright.

C-SPAN maintains an intellectual property enforcement policy "zealously and actively monitors and protects its intellectual property", C-SPAN also states "C-SPAN video is not in the public domain."[2][3] As an exception, teachers are granted a limited in-classroom license. [4] Most C-SPAN footage is available on their site for around two weeks prior to entering into C-SPAN pay for access archive where usage is restricted and must be licensed. In Senate and House chambers, live feeds from government-owned recording equipment is released into the public domain as determined by the Speaker and Senate Rules and Administration Committee, respectively.[5] C-SPAN treats archives of the government produced public domain content as copyrighted and it is subject to the same restrictions as other C-SPAN content in the pay for access archive.


C-SPAN has engaged in numerous actions to stop parties from making unauthorized uses of their content online including cases where the footage is the House and Senate proceedings. For example, Dem Bloggers received a take down request for clips they had posted. [6] In February of 2006, WRPI's Dennis Karius was fired for airing copyrighted audio from C-SPAN's web stream on his radio program. [7] In May 2006, C-SPAN requested the removal of the Stephen Colbert performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner from YouTube while allowing it to remain on Google Video [8], causing concern from web bloggers. [9]

Websites such as metavid make House and Senate video records freely available. C-SPAN contested metavid usage of C-SPAN video which resulted in metavid taking down portions of the archive which were produced with C-SPAN's cameras while maintaining an archive of government produced content. [10]

On December 14th 2006 C-SPAN wrote an open letter to Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi requesting that floor proceedings be covered by C-SPAN cameras. This would put the floor footage under the same restrictive license as C-SPAN produced content.[11] The request was denied [12]

So far Pelosi is up to 255 videos hosted on YouTube - nearly all of them C-SPAN content.

Pelosi has the power to effect the terms of use of video shot with government owned equipment, but she doesn't have the power to take for use material that has C-SPAN's trademark affixed - which she has clearly done. For that she must get a "Special Use" license. The cost of such license is unknown, but I have a call in to C-SPAN to find out what it would cost and if the Speaker's office is paying.

Another possibility is that Speaker Pelosi is posting these video's with C-SPAN's consent, meaning that C-SPAN is essentially giving her and "in-kind" donation of the material. I've also asked what the material she's posted is worth..

Finally, it's possible (and likely) that Pelosi is posting the material without C-SPAN's consent and they are declining to act as they have on numerous occasions before. In that case she is clearly getting preferential treatment...

I'm of the opinion that the content that C-SPAN has aggressively worked to protect over the years really should be available to the public, and this may ultimately help the next blogger who gets a take-down notice from C-SPAN's lawyers. The real question in this case is would C-SPAN be so generous if if wasn't the Speaker's office posting the videos?

We intend to find out...


Update: There's been a MAJOR update to this story.


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Comments (43)

An interesting story, and a... (Below threshold)
Lee:

An interesting story, and a well-reasoned approach to the question. My compliments.

Wow, first North America fa... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Wow, first North America faces a major cold spell, despite global warmening, and now hell has frozen over with Lee's reasonable comment.

A day late and a dollar sho... (Below threshold)
jaku:

A day late and a dollar short. The fools at the RSC have already retracted their initial press release that reads

Earlier today, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) released a document about the Speaker's use of copyrighted/trademarked C-SPAN material on a Congressional website. The document was based upon a conversation that RSC staff had with Barry Katz, the Manager of C-SPAN Video Assets (and the employee identified as being directly responsible for answering questions to Congress about the use of C-SPAN material).

Bruce Collins, the Corporate Vice President and General Counsel of C-SPAN, called post release and said that the information provided by the C-SPAN employee to the RSC was incorrect.

Given this contradictory information, the RSC wanted to be the first set the record straight and withdraw the information included in the release.

So, who will be the first here to update your original post?

What Kevin did beats the he... (Below threshold)
Lee:

What Kevin did beats the heck out of linking to a video of Michelle Malkin shrieking at the camera doing a lousy impersonation of Nancy Pelosi shrieking at C-Span, which is the norm around here.

The RSC has already scrubbe... (Below threshold)
jaku:

The RSC has already scrubbed the press release from their Feb 2007 press releases

http://www.house.gov/hensarling/rsc/pressreleases07.shtml

It's kind of sad that you are so full of venom for
anything that tries to make Pelosi or any Democrat look bad that you look before you leap.

Score another notch for right wing blog 'credibility'...ha!

leap before look is what I ... (Below threshold)
jaku:

leap before look is what I meant to say...d'oh

Get used to it Jaku. Demo's... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Get used to it Jaku. Demo's wanted power, the scrutiny comes with it. ww

"Score another notch for... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Score another notch for right wing blog 'credibility'...ha!"

Naw - Not buying into the easy answers, and sticking with the story and seeing where it leads, is what builds credibility.

If Kevin is smart he'll stay on this and see where it leads him. Who's to say Bruce Collins is correct, or that Collin's policy has always been applied uniformly and fairly?

Kevin may be on the trail of something, or maybe not - but he shouldn't give up just because Bruce Collins blew the whistle and declared "game over".

Good for Pelosi. I encourag... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Good for Pelosi. I encourage any and all House/Senate members to put as much transparency in government as possible.

Naw - Not buying into th... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Naw - Not buying into the easy answers, and sticking with the story and seeing where it leads, is what builds credibility.

Only if Kevin comes back and updates his story with the "never mind" outcome. Unlike Kim's "bumped and updated" attempt to squeeze one more drop of scandal out of a story that had already been thoroughly debunked.

I was about to say -- I thi... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

I was about to say -- I think that if this is at a .gov site, Pelosi may indeed have the right to use the material under "fair use."

--|PW|--

Good for Pelosi. I enco... (Below threshold)
marc:

Good for Pelosi. I encourage any and all House/Senate members to put as much transparency in government as possible. Posted by: jp2 at February 15, 2007 06:28 PM

And if she is in fact using copyrighted material without permission? Is that still "good?"

Floor debate and proceeding... (Below threshold)
jaku:

Floor debate and proceedings fall under 'Fair Use' and cane be labeled public domain, committee hearings however are not.

Case closed, but somehow I get the feeling the wizzers are going to do everything in their power to draw this non-scandal out as long as humanly possible, trying so hard to push a story that has already fizzled out and died.

Just admit it, you jumped the gun and were wrong.


The "Gavel", sheesh,can ... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

The "Gavel", sheesh,can you say drunk on power and democrat media at the same time. The witch and her party are straight up traitors.

jaku, it is NOT quite as "c... (Below threshold)

jaku, it is NOT quite as "case closed" as you think.

I am no copyright lawyer, but I do deal with it a LOT at the Day Job. While the event might be "public domain," a case can be argued that CSPAN's coverage represents an "interpretation" of the event and therefore would fall under copyright law. For example, photographers take pictures of public events all the time, but their actual photos are protected by copyright. I think the most famous example of privately-owned film footage of a very public event would be the Zapruder film.

Now, if CSPAN has a history of zealously going after those who use its footage, then the case is a bit clearer. Further, if Pelosi has been using it without specific permission, it puts a major hurting on any future enforcement of rights by CSPAN. By allowing Pelosi to use it without specific permission (which appears to be the case), they have opened themselves up to future cases where others, using "the Pelosi precedent," will do what she is allegedly doing.

Alternately, they could simply link to Pelosi's use and indirectly do what CSPAN has allegedly stopped in the past.

It's a convoluted case, and I am glad Kevin is atop it. It would give me headaches...

J.

"And if she is in fact usin... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"And if she is in fact using copyrighted material without permission? Is that still "good?""

What's more important to you? CSPAN's copyright or having video records of the Senate/House floor? Quite frightening if you think the former.

(And I do think it falls under public domain, so it's not much of a discussion)

Jay, thank you. Now it is ... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Jay, thank you. Now it is Jaku and the others who have jumped the gun. When will THEY learn?

The RSC release and retract... (Below threshold)

The RSC release and retraction is what lead me to this story. The fact they backed off their story is irrelevant to my look at the issue. To me the issue is whether they are treating the Speaker's office different than they would me or any other blogger. I don't have the answer yet, but I suspect they are.

Also you should follow the link to the metavid site and read the legal issues. They take public domain footage; slap their trademark on it then they've got content you can't freely use.

They were presumably looking to make a quick RSC was

Jakuleap bef... (Below threshold)

Jaku

leap before look is what I meant to say...d'oh

Oh, really? Practice what you preach. You are a lying, slandering piece of garbage.

There are a many smart, witty and engaging leftist commenters in these threads. You are not among them.

It's remarkable how jaku so... (Below threshold)

It's remarkable how jaku so desperately wants to stop this discussion. "look before you leap." "Case closed." "fizzled." "you jumped the gun and were wrong."

It raises some issues that some folks find intriguing, if not downright fascinating. I, for one, am interested in how it turns out -- regardless of party affiliations of the involved worthies.

And any discussion that features Lee being calm and rational and reasonable needs to be preserved, if for no other reason.

J.

The RSC is letting it go be... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

The RSC is letting it go because they're just gracious. We should simply conclude that Pelosi is violating a copyright.

"We should simply conclude ... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

"We should simply conclude that Pelosi is violating a copyright."

There is no law or rule a Democrat hasn't and won't break. That's what criminals do , breaks laws. Democrats are Criminals. It's relly that simple.

As an IP attorney, Jay Tea'... (Below threshold)
Just a Patent Attorney:

As an IP attorney, Jay Tea's characterization is generally accurate and fair with regard to how material qualifies for copyright protection. CSPAN has copyright protection under 17 USC sect. 106, though it may be generally limited to the embodiment transmitted (or as recorded for re-transmission).

Whether CSPAN is maintaining a consistent enforcement policy - that is anyone's guess.

What I want to know is if t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

What I want to know is if the government is recording congressional sessions, why don't they just make the archive available online?

If the republicans want to ... (Below threshold)
TJIT:

If the republicans want to motivate their base they might try and do something a little bit more substantial then complaining about Nancy Pelosi all the time.

<a href="http://www.foxnews... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Fox News, on the retraction:

------------
GOP Group Retreats After Making Factual Error While Criticizing Speaker Pelosi

WASHINGTON -- The House-based Republican Study Committee on Thursday backed off its attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- in which it suggested she had violated C-SPAN's copyright -- after learning it had its facts wrong.

"This is yet another baseless attack by the Republicans. It's another desperate attempt to avoid focusing on the real issues that affect the American people," Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said after the retraction.

The error occurred early in the afternoon, when the RSC distributed a press release criticizing the speaker for using House floor speech footage on her Web log, The Gavel, that had been taped off C-SPAN and distributed on YouTube. C-SPAN is a private, non-profit company that airs footage of the House and Senate activities, including all floor sessions.

"The blog violated copyright and trademark law on the very first day. Not once, not twice, but 16 times," read the release. "The RSC spoke with C-SPAN today, who confirmed that these videos violate C-SPAN copyright/trademark of the House proceedings.

"In addition to using pirated material, Speaker Pelosi also has used the pirated C-SPAN footage for partisan purposes," the release read. It also added that earlier this year, Pelosi had denied a C-SPAN request to use its own cameras for floor proceedings on the grounds that it didn't preserve the "the dignity and decorum" of the House.

"Is the dignity and decorum of the House preserved by pirating copyrighted C-SPAN material for political purposes?" the release asked.

But a couple hours later, the RSC sent out a second release saying it wanted to correct its error.

The earlier release "was based upon a conversation that RSC staff had with Barry Katz, the Manager of C-SPAN video assets. ... Bruce Collins, the corporate vice president and general counsel of C-SPAN, called post-release and said that the information provided by the C-SPAN employee to the RSC was incorrect," reads the second statement.

"Given this contradictory information, the RSC wanted to be the first set the record straight and withdraw the information included in the release," the correction stated.

Prior to the error being announced, RSC Communications Director Brad Dayspring told FOX News the committee had been told that C-SPAN's copyright law had been violated because Pelosi had used the C-SPAN logo on her site. He said raw footage is available through an internal House feed to all members.

"We applaud (Pelosi's) efforts to get video on her Web site ... we can't applaud her breaking the law," he said.

He added that several congressional members had called his office after the initial release to determine whether they too had violated the law, but none of the sites he checked out had used C-SPAN's logo.

Daly said Pelosi's office had checked out the legality of using the footage before it was posted.

"Our legal counsel and C-SPAN's legal counsel have each independently determined that C-SPAN video posted on the speaker's blog is in the public domain and does not violate copyright law," he said.
----------

<a href="http://news.yahoo.... (Below threshold)
Lee:

The AP on the same subject (emphasis mine)
--------------

WASHINGTON - Republicans quickly retracted a news release Thursday that accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) of violating copyrights of C-SPAN, the cable channel that televises House and Senate proceedings.

The GOP took Pelosi to task because her new blog used video of this week's Iraq war debate, but then backtracked after learning C-SPAN had no copyright for the footage.

The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House members, contended in an afternoon news release that Pelosi's Web log violated copyright and trademark law by pirating "for partisan purposes" clips of members speaking on the House floor.

The clips, hosted by the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube, have C-SPAN's logo visible.

"As of noon today, the speaker had posted at least 16 videos that are copyrighted C-SPAN material from the House floor," according to the release from RSC spokesman Brad Dayspring. He cited an unnamed C-SPAN employee responsible for answering copyright questions from congressional employees.

Not so, said C-SPAN spokeswoman Jennifer Moire. The videos on Pelosi's blog, called The Gavel, came from the House chamber, where the footage is shot by cameras owned by Congress, not C-SPAN.

"That's in the public domain, it's owned by the American people," Moire said.

Dayspring retracted the release two hours after it went out, saying C-SPAN general counsel Bruce Collins had called the committee and said the information from the release was incorrect.

"The bottom line is, we were given contradictory information," Dayspring said in an interview. "We wanted to be clear that we are trying to operate where the facts are."

Pelosi's spokesman, Brendan Daly, said the GOP committee's initial release was "another baseless attack by Republicans."

In the six weeks since Pelosi, D-Calif., has been speaker, she has come under criticism by Republicans over how big a plane the government should provide for her use and over a minimum wage bill that excluded American Samoa from its provisions.

Pelosi said the wage measure will be modified to include Samoa. Republicans charged it was excluded from the bill because of a large tuna cannery there is owned by Del Monte Foods Co., which has its headquarters in Pelosi's San Francisco district.
--------

"Pelosi's spokesman, Brenda... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

"Pelosi's spokesman, Brendan Daly, said the GOP committee's initial release was "another baseless attack by Republicans."


Brenden Daly like Piglosi is a punk ass liar.

"Bruce Collins, the corporate vice president and general counsel of C-SPAN, called post-release and said that the information provided by the C-SPAN employee to the RSC was incorrect,"


So much for your "BASELESS ATTACK" schtik. Democrats will never stop lying , crying and destoying our Country. It's all they are capable of doing. It's time to assemble the firing squads.

"Fair Use" has a specific m... (Below threshold)
Beeblebrox:

"Fair Use" has a specific meaning and is not the same as "public domain". Jaku seems to be confused on this point.

An example from my years in media direction at the university level where I was the designated "copyright NAZI"...

Fair use allows you to use a percentage or portion of a copyrighted work for educational or journalistic purposes. You can quote a portion of a book, take a short excerpt from a movie, display a low resolution version of an ad on an educational website, etc. All of these are allowable.

Public Domain refers to something that is NOT copyrighted. A Mozart symphony for example.

If the C-Span material is copyrighted then it is not public domain and fair use can only apply if the material is being used in a manner allowed under the fair use guidelines. Promoting her own political agenda would not fall under fair use nor would the sheer volume of material being used fall under those guidelines even if the material wasn't being used for promotional purposes.

Now, if the material is copyrighted, Pelosi can use it given she has permission to do so. If she has received permission then no harm, no foul on her part. The problem then would be for C-SPAN since they have so jealously guarded this material in the past and now have seemingly decided to jump in Pelosi's bed.

What's more important t... (Below threshold)
marc:

What's more important to you? CSPAN's copyright or having video records of the Senate/House floor? Quite frightening if you think the former.
Posted by: jp2

I assume you have read the comments between this response and my orig comment. If you READ them, then educate yourself. In short the videos are already in the public domain.

That aside, do I think CSPAN's copyright, whether it fits this case or not, is important?

Damn right I do. And that covers everyone else that produces material that falls under copyright law.

Beeblebrox has also fairly ... (Below threshold)
Just a Patent Attorney:

Beeblebrox has also fairly characterized the distinction between "fair use" and "public domain".

However, much of the academic analysis is moot, considering the correction of the facts - the video was from Congressional cameras, and not CSPAN.

However, much of the ac... (Below threshold)

However, much of the academic analysis is moot, considering the correction of the facts - the video was from Congressional cameras, and not CSPAN.

That's all nice and good, but don't you think they'd be coming after a garden variety blogger if they posted 250+ of those videos? Remember they've got the C-SPAN trademarked logo all over them. In the linked mediavid case they had to specifically remove the C-SPAN logo not run afowl of the C-SPAN lawyers.

That's all nice and good... (Below threshold)
Brian:

That's all nice and good, but don't you think they'd be coming after a garden variety blogger if they posted 250+ of those videos?

No.

Remember they've got the C-SPAN trademarked logo all over them.

And remember, it was a C-SPAN spokeswoman who said that the videos were in the public domain. Public domain is public domain. If you knowingly allow your logo to be used in public domain media, I suspect you have no foundation to object to its use.

Kevin:In order to ... (Below threshold)
Just a Patent Attorney:

Kevin:

In order to have a valid trademark infringement suit, the offending party must be commercially exploiting the mark. While most Internet related activity has been essentially labeled as "commercial in law", there is a plausible (if not reasonable) argument that Pelosi's usage of the CSPAN trademark is not a commercial use of the type entertained by the law, or even not a commercial use at all.

There are plausible arguments that Pelosi's site (and Pelosi's "profession") is commercial, but that would require a very expansive interpretation of what "commerce" includes under the Lanham Act.

It seems unlikely that the latter argument would prevail over the former - but stranger things have happened in a court.

Just A Patent Attorney:... (Below threshold)

Just A Patent Attorney:

I appreciate the support earlier, but I think I have a quibble with your last remark. Are you certain about the "commercially exploiting" bit? In the example given, there is a benefit being exploited -- Pelosi is gaining personal prestige and publicity via the videos in question -- that is not, strictly, "commercial."

Under that exception, it seems to me that one could freely make copies of copyrighted material and just give it away. And I think that the recording industry would have a few words to say about that, in light of their own position on file-sharing...

And another issue that occurs to me is the presence of the C-SPAN logo on the videos, which -- I'm certain -- is trademarked, and that opens a whole 'nother can of worms...

As I said, it's a fascinating discussion. Good thing that jaku and Lee didn't have their druthers and just shut it down...

J.

Jay Tea:My previou... (Below threshold)
Just a Patent Attorney:

Jay Tea:

My previous entry was addressing the potential trademark issue only.

In order for trademark infringement, commercial exploitation of the trademark by the alleged infringer must be present.

While I appreciate your argument on commercial exploitation (applied in a copyright context), and based on my recollections of relevant case law in the area of "commerce" as defined by the Lanham Act, more likely than not this type of activity would not be considered "commercial", thus trademark infringement would not be present. Increasing Pelosi's fame is such an intangible and largely speculative assertion that it seems doubtful that a court would create the nexus between the use and the necessary commercial exploitation.

Admittedly, the facts are not completely known (at least by me), so the analysis may change (even significantly) if there is some element of commerce going on behind the scenes that we are not privy to. And as I intimated before, there is always the wildcard of a judge somewhere interested in novel arguments of law (and the facts applied thereto) which prevents any attorney from saying "NEVER!!"

With regard to your earlier statement about folks making multiple copies of music and giving the copies away, thereby circumventing the perceived law. This activity would constitute copyright infringement, as copyright infringement is a strict liability offense, and copying without authorization is infringement unless the activity fits within one of the exemptions set out in 17 USC sects. 107-122 (fair use, first sale / exhaustion), or the implied "personal use" copies. Copying and distributing with the intent to do so, even without the intent or desire to make any cash from the activity, is still copyright infringement, and is more than likely a willful infringement eligible for enhanced damages and attorneys fees (if applicable).

Hope that helps, some (and doesn't further muddy the waters).

Who cares about logos and p... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Who cares about logos and public domains. This is what the fiend is really up to.

"Speaker Pelosi has decided that because she is the Speaker she is not bound by the House Rules."

"Pelosi's use of C-SPAN video to further her political agenda is a gross violation of the House Rules of the 110th Congress [pdf file], rules the Speaker is charged with administering.

Rule V, 2, (c), (1) prohibits the use of recordings of House proceedings for any political purpose:

(c) Coverage made available under
this clause, including any recording
thereof--
(1) may not be used for any political
purpose;


http://www.rules.house.gov/ruleprec/110th.pdf

I don't believe that C-Span... (Below threshold)
Lee:

I don't believe that C-Span putting their logo onto video content "owned" by Congress gives C-Span any ownership rights to the underlying content. When ABC Television added their logo to whatever movie they aired last night, did that logo in the right hand corner impart ownership rights of the film to ABC? Nope.

It would be a different matter if C-Span was creating a new derivative work. If they take the footage and create a documentary, that documentary can be copyrighted by them, certainly, even when the documentary contains public domain material, but that doesn't seem to be the case here -- that C-Span is creating a derivative work.

C-Span no doubt has a contractual right to use and broadcast the content recorded with the Congressional cameras, and if they in return want to allow members of Congress the right to post the videos with the logos intact, they can certainly choose to do that.

C-Span's logo is trademarked, and they definitely have the right to control where and when and how their trademark is distributed. Still, the fair use copyright provisions would apply to bloggers and others wishing to C-Span videos, even with the logo on the video.

It isn't unheard of, and in fact it is somewhat common these days, for a media publisher to ignore fair use rights and try to intimidate web publishers (which includes bloggers) in an effort to reduce outside distribution and control content -- especially in instances where the publisher themselves offer the content for a fee. These instances of intimidation happen all the time. The suits at ABC fire off a nasty letter threatening legal action, and the content is removed.

Meanwhile, we still haven't at this point established whether the video content itself is in the public domain by virtue of the fact that it is created using the Congressionally-owned cameras -- and that is a moot point with respect to "fair use" rights anyway -- but let's assume for the moment that it is in the public domain, which I suspect might be true. A blogger would then seem to be within their rights to reproduce the video outside of fair use so long as the C-Span logo blurred out.

Regardless of any C-Span trademark clams, and even if the video isn't in the public domain, a blogger would be within their rights to reproduce the video with the C-Span logo intact so long as that blogger's use is covered by the "fair use" provisions of the copyright act.

I believe C-Span is within their rights to stop YouTube from distributing C-Span content that contains their logo. Period. This may also have the residual, unintended effect of stopping a blogger from exercising their "fair use" rights on the content if all the blogger is doing is linking to the YouTube video -- but this, I believe, falls into the "tough noogies" category.

"Hey," the C-Span suit guy, "you linked to the YouTube-hosted video on your blog, and you were using the video within "fair use' guidelines, but now it is gone from YouTube-- not my problem!"

This may be a situation where the blogger needs to host the video content on their own website, instead of linking to YouTube, as a way to get around the noogies (so maybe the noogies aren't so tough after all).

Whether the video content is in the public domain or not is an important question to answer, but that doesn't matter if a blogger is using the video correctly and within the parameters set by the copyright "fair use" provisions.

Rob: "Rule V, 2, (c), (1... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Rob: "Rule V, 2, (c), (1) prohibits the use of recordings of House proceedings for any political purpose:"

What does the contractual a... (Below threshold)

What does the contractual agreement between C-SPAN and the House say regarding ownership. That'll answer the question Lee raises.

Sorry. Rob: "Ru... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Sorry.

Rob: "Rule V, 2, (c), (1) prohibits the use of recordings of House proceedings for any political purpose:"

What's your definition of "political purpose" as it applies here?

Posting them on YouTube isn't, by itself, using them for a political purpose. Using them in a campaign ad would certainly be a political purpose, or using the recordings in an ad that promotes legislation or issues, or using them in a fundraising video program for Pelosi's campaign -- I can see where those are uses "for political purposes".

How does this rule apply to Pelosi's posting of the videos on YouTube?

And in my comment above I wrote that it hadn't been established of the content was in the public domain or not, but in the AP story I quoted earlier C-Span affirms that it is in the public domain.

The videos on Pelosi's blog, called The Gavel, came from the House chamber, where the footage is shot by cameras owned by Congress, not C-SPAN.

"That's in the public domain, it's owned by the American people," Moire said.

C-Span still has trademark rights on their logo which they can choose to enforce -- whether they've enforced them consistently and fairly is still an important question.

Setting aside the academic ... (Below threshold)
Beeblebrox:

Setting aside the academic arguments, if Rob is right then Pelosi is apparently (in her mind) above the law, at least the law established for house members. But then again, this would not surprise me at all. Democrats are notorious for crying foul at the slightest perception of ethical lapses on the other side of the aisle but have no problem with their own crooked land deals, $90K in ill-gotten booty hidden in freezers, lending public funds to each other through the congressional post office, attempting to acquire big, expensive, public funded luxury jets (that cause more greenhouse gases to be expelled into the atmosphere than some third world countries expel in a year), and on and on.

I don't get too wound up about things like this because it is minor compared to what she and her compatriots are doing behind the scenes.

Speaker Pelosi did not infr... (Below threshold)
Alec:

Speaker Pelosi did not infringe copyright or trademark law, and thus did not receive any "special treatment" from C-SPAN.

It's clear that C-SPAN cannot, and does not, assert a copyright in recordings of House floor proceedings because they are government-created works. The Wiki entries citing examples where C-SPAN asserted copyright protection all involved C-SPAN rebroadcast of non-floor proceedings, like Committee hearings and the White House Correspondant's Dinner.

As to trademark, it is also clear that posting of C-SPAN floor proceedings by Speaker Pelosi would not meet the statutory definition of trademark infringement or dilution. Even if it did, it would clear constitute fair use of the trademark.




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