Policy wonks everywhere should breathe a sigh of relief. C-Span has come to its senses and adopted a liberalized copyright policy for its videos of government in action (or inaction, as the case may be)... You can read the press release here.
Noncommercial entities can now copy, share and post video from C-Span's archives, as well as any future video. This policy is limited to its coverage of Congressional and federal agency actions, such as House and Senate floor action and federal agency talkfests. In addition, C-SPan has announced that it will be expanding its www.capitolhearings.org site in order to bring even more boring hearings about government oversight to the general public. Yippee!
The approach being adopted by C-Span has long been championed by entities like Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization which allows creators to mark their products with the type of copyright restrictions they want to apply. So, if you have a video for which you want to reserve some rights, while at the same time allowing other uses, like posting on blogs and YouTube, you can create a customized copyright policy.
No word yet on whether C-span will allow mash-ups of its video materials -- and, really, who wants to see that?