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More on Congressional Committee Webcast Archives

Josh Tauberer has a follow up to his earlier post on Congressional Video.

In it he quotes and notes:

> With the exception of distinct ‘direct download’ links on the House
> Energy Committee page, committees’ technology choices stand in the
> way of reuse or archival. Saving streams from the various proprietary
> protocols used by committees requires specialized tools which may
> violate DMCA. Given the public domain status of these videos, formats
> and technologies which encourage — rather than defeat — archival
> and reuse by citizen/users should be adopted.

To reiterate some of that: it may be illegal to make copies of some of these videos under the DMCA law because the videos are provided in particular proprietary formats. That is so even if the committee says it is ok to copy it.

and suggests:

* For the sake of archives and use by professional journalists, provide a stream that is high-quality (it probably exists but just isn’t public).

* Similarly, provide the streams at least additionally in a format that does not make it a violation of federal law to copy (again, it’s a problem regardless of whether the committee says “go ahead”).

* Remove any additional assertions (e.g. House Rules) on how congressional video may be used. Either it is public or it is not. It is an affront to free speech if Congress thinks government records, of all things, should be off-limits to any part of public discourse.

* Partner with experts in the public — e.g. Aphid and Carl Malamud — on establishing goals for congressional video.

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