"YouTube has taken down the videos [of Colbert's performance], citing copyright infringement. Since those videos were taken from C-SPAN, which I thought was owned by the public, who owns the copyright and could have asked for the videos to be taken down?"
(thanks, Parker, and many others). YouTube customarily removes copyrighted content at the request of rightsholders, but some troubled readers wrote in asking whether censorship or alien conspiracy theories were to blame in this case. I asked YouTube spokesperson Julie Supan, and she replied:
The Colbert videos were removed at the request of CSPAN, the copyright owner. Many of our users have inquired about whether or not the speech was considered 'public domain' and therefore exempt from copyright protection. Unfortunately, the video footage uploaded was broadcasted and owned by CSPAN.Here's the "Contact Us" page on CSPAN.org.
I might recommend contacting CSPAN to better understand the situation from their perspective.
Previously on BoingBoing:
- Stephen Colbert kicks ass at White House press corps dinner
- Mainstream press: Colbert wasn't funny, so we ignored him
- Bush and cronies livid about Colbert's White House gig
- NYT finally notices Colbert's White House gig
- Jon Stewart praises Colbert's White House gig
Reader comment: François Bar says,
Interesting that C-SPAN sells it at the (discounted) price of $24.95: Link.Reader comment: Karen says,
I thought you might like to know that Crooks and Liars still has the video of Colbert's speech on Saturday night. Here's the link. Both of the video links were up and working as of 5 minutes ago (12:31 MT on 5-4-06). I hope YouTube will have it back up soon.Reader comment: John Paolozzi says,
YouTube or CSPAN is inconsistent with application of copyright. As you can see from this functional link, the clip from the 2005 dinner is still up. Why?Reader comment: Joe says,
Regarding the Colbert performance being taken down from YouTube, the link to their video is about halfway down the page, but I couldn't get it to load in Safari. I think it is the whole show about 1:45, according to the blurb on the link: "White House Correspondents' Dinner, White House Correspondents' Association: 92nd Annual Dinner, 4/29/2006: WASHINGTON, DC: 1 hr. 45 min."Reader comment: McGrude says,
From this URL: "C-SPAN is a private, non-profit company, created in 1979 by the cable television industry as a public service. Our mission is to provide public access to the political process. C-SPAN receives no government funding; operations are funded by fees paid by cable and satellite affiliates who carry C-SPAN programming." So yeah, they've got the right to ask for it to be pulled.Reader comment: Eric Denny says,
Apparently video of President Bush's performance from the same event doesn't violate copyright: Link.Reader comment: Bill Brazell says,
I just called C-SPAN to complain about the Colbert removal. C-SPAN says they removed it because YouTube didn't ask permission, and that in any event people can watch the video on C-SPAN's own site (though prob. not in condensed form).Reader comment: John says,
I just wanted to mention that C-Span is a non-profit, doesn't run ads or have 'underwriters' (like PBS or NPR do) on its channels, and doesn't run ads on its website. It is financed by the cable industry. So if they are charging too much for their videos, and have an incentive to pull stuff off of YouTube, one can take that to mean that they are either (a) underfunded by the cable industry or (b) have an inefficient / arcane revenue model. It does NOT mean that they are greedy bastards.Reader comment: Daniel Sieradski says,
Don't get me wrong, I hate how they deliver their video in a streaming format, and in general their website could use some serious information architecture and aesthetic redesign. Maybe BB readers could get together and offer them some suggestions for redesign and a new delivery model? Hell, I bet if they sold a high quality, full length version of the Colbert speech on the iTunes store, they'd make a killing.
My friend Aphid is working on a project called Metavid at UCSC which saves C-Span's feed online for public usage. Within weeks of going live (tho it hasn't had a public launch yet) C-Span came a sniffin' and Aphid went running to the EFF. What it comes down to is that recordings of Senatorial and Congressional sessions are public domain and anyone can use C-Span's stuff, but all other recordings (Congressional hearings, Presidential briefings, press corps dinner, etc.) are owned by them. If there was another crew in there filming making the material public domain, like a non-profit or a federal agency, that material could be used in the public domain as no one has exclusive rights to those hearings/briefings/events. However there is currently no cable television company or foundation which is recording these events for public use. Therefore C-Span can claim ownership of their specific recordings.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.