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:: My Urban Eyes ::

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Creative Commons License

:: Friday, May 05, 2006 ::

Copyright Quandary

Copyright exists to protect the intellectual property of creators, but nowadays it's meaning has been diluted down to dollars and cents (excepting Creative Commons, of course).

Want some proof? The RIAA is an easy target, but here's another one: CSPAN. Yes, you heard me right, the non-profit bringer of Congressional roll calls and White House press conferences. Recently CSPAN had the video of Stephen Colbert at the White House Press Dinner pulled from You Tube, citing copyright (take a look at this Boing Boing post for the play-by-play). No problem yet--they own the copyright to the video, so taking it off is their right. In fact, seeing as how they want to protect their intellecutal property, I bet while they were at it they asked for all of their videos to be taken off, such as dinners from years past. But no.

So why only this one video? It's probably because they're selling a DVD of the performance for a (discounted) price of $24.95. Dinners from years past aren't available, so they can stay.

If it's all about money, then why are they also streaming a (low quality) version of the dinner? CSPAN gets its money from the cable providers that carry it. I'm willing to bet that the more viewership they can account for--be it over cable or fiber optic lines--the higher premiums they can charge. Why let hundreds of thousands of viewings go to waste when you can force people to watch it from your own site, making money in the process?

Now, being a non-profit, I'm sure that CSPAN will do something good with any extra revenue it recieves--maybe buy a new camera or hire a new reporter. But it all still comes down to dollars and cents, not the true purpose of copyright--protecting creators.

Update (5/6/06): The video has now made it to Google video, in a weird twist of fate.

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:: Kazen @ Always Doing 5:11 PM [+] ::
:: ... 3 comments | backtrack ::

so THAT'S why I couldn't show it to Justin last night!!!
c-span has a history of ip issues
Thanks for the awesome link, Mike! Come to think of it, that probably explains why on the Daily Show, if I remember correctly, the CSPAN logo is usually blurred out. Very interesting...
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