C-Span Nazis
February 19, 2009 7:00 PM   Subscribe

 
Blog about it!
posted by humannaire at 7:04 PM on February 19, 2009


The owners of "c.com" stand to make a hell of a fortune.
posted by crapmatic at 7:06 PM on February 19, 2009


Didn't Microsoft already take out rights to all the letters in the alphabet, like ten years ago?

Wait! Licensing is my idea.
posted by Xoebe at 7:07 PM on February 19, 2009


So much for my cooking blog dominicspantry.com. :(
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:09 PM on February 19, 2009 [19 favorites]


We agreed that by next week you would voluntarily do the following:

This is a very misleading post.
posted by ook at 7:13 PM on February 19, 2009


yep...

next
posted by HuronBob at 7:14 PM on February 19, 2009


It's not "pull", it's chutzpah.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:15 PM on February 19, 2009


You are free to link to www.c-span.org, if you like.

Wow, that's mighty generous of them.
posted by COD at 7:16 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


The domain claim is pretty weak, but I don't know how I feel about the junkie's re-encoding of c-span's videos with a "CSPANJUNKIE.ORG" logo.

That's too eBaum-ian for me.
posted by joe vrrr at 7:26 PM on February 19, 2009


Nazis? Really? Sounds like they had a cordial phone call with a polite followup letter.
posted by desjardins at 7:46 PM on February 19, 2009


We've all been there, or know someone who has. It starts off innocently enough: you notice them lingering a little too long in the bakeware section, idly stroking some attractive copper cookware. Then they mention that maybe it's time to get rid of the nonstick frying pan that's maybe starting to stick a little, upgrade to stainless steel or a little cast iron number they've had their eye on. By the end you hardly recognize them as they stumble up the cooking aisle at the Walmart, muttering to no one about the heat transfer coefficient of aluminum.

I hope C's pan junkie gets the help s/he needs.
posted by logicpunk at 7:54 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Carol Stream, IL Panthers youth soccer team is GOING DOWN. Take that losers!
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:04 PM on February 19, 2009


The domain claim is pretty weak, but I don't know how I feel about the junkie's re-encoding of c-span's videos with a "CSPANJUNKIE.ORG" logo.

I thought C-SPAN videos were creative commons licensed, It turns out they have a Creative Commons-Style license, but either way I don't really think they restrict what people do with the video too much.
posted by delmoi at 8:08 PM on February 19, 2009


Voluntarily! maybe he should rename as PANS-C.
posted by tellurian at 8:19 PM on February 19, 2009


From the list of "we agreed you would voluntarily..."
2. Host only C-SPAN video that is coverage of Congress (including hearings) or government-sponsored events (as we discussed) and leave the C-SPAN logo on screen to identify the source of the video.

Because how would anyone know that it's C-SPAN content without the logo and without the cspanjunkie domain name? Last week I watched 45 minutes of what I thought was 'The OC' before realizing it was actually a senate hearing. Is this just anything besides harassment for rights-mongering sake?
posted by Avelwood at 8:38 PM on February 19, 2009


eBaum-ian

I'm going to use this word the next time I get the chance, but I won't give you any credit.
posted by tapeguy at 8:39 PM on February 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


As a Canadian, I am jealous of you Americans and your lack-of-Crown-copyright ways. Very much.

In this specific case, I think it's at least common courtesy to leave up the logo of the video's origination. I'm not sure that CSPAN should be requiring non-commerciality, or at least they need to distinguish between commercial and profit-seeking. This guy sounds like it's mainly a labour of love with ads thrown in.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:20 PM on February 19, 2009


As a Canadian, I am jealous of you Americans and your lack-of-Crown-copyright ways.

It's OK, we're jealous that you get to go to doctors.
posted by desjardins at 9:25 PM on February 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


At first I thought it said C-Net.

That's all I've got.
posted by swift at 9:31 PM on February 19, 2009


Wow, and I do mean wow, there is a lot of misconception in this thread. For once the thread comments on the linked website are more on target than those on MeFi.

C-SPAN has a mixture of intellectual property rights including trademarks and copyrights. If a website is trading on the name, such as by using a trademarked name in its URL, that's a trademark issue and there is an established process for taking down a website that trades on someones trademark (such as by a UDRP action). If a website uses copyrighted material, that's a copyright violation and there are actions to take that down as well (such as a DMCA takedown).

C-SPAN stated it didn't want the website to trade on its C-SPAN name and cause any confusion as to the affiliation with C-SPAN - that's fair. I'm not sure it is entirely fair to have to change the domain name. Once you hit the website, confusion could be eliminated through a disclaimer of affiliation (and that's basically what C-SPAN is saying) - but it is true that in a web search you may very well not see something like a disclaimer that says the website is not affiliated with C-SPAN. The law trends towards URL level of confusion being enough for C-SPAN to assert its rights in not using its trademark in the URL. Walmartsucks, on the other hand, is a criticism website that, based in fair use and an unlikely confusion between it and the company it critiques, is not an infringement problem.

On the copyright side, they're allowing the congressional video so long as the logo remains, which seems reasonable, and they don't want their other proprietary transmissions posted directly on the junkie website. Again, seems fair, as C-SPAN has to generate its own content at a price and the junkie website sees fit to have ad revenue of its own on the banner side. I don't see why the junkie website should get ad revenue on C-SPAN video hits.

NOW - all this aside, C-SPAN could have worked this differently. I'm not a reader of the junkie website, but if it is in keeping with the mission of C-SPAN, then C-SPAN should have reached out to work with this junkie website. Perhaps there was a win-win here the lawyers missed (although in the letter, C-SPAN made the good point that IT wants to be in control of its image, especially as to impartiality and I have no idea if the junkie website is impartial or a hack job).
posted by Muddler at 9:41 PM on February 19, 2009


What kind of pull does C-Span have that Walmart doesn't?

It appears that they asked?
posted by dhartung at 12:32 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It appears that they asked?

Yea, I don't think they have the legal right to do this and the owner of cspanjunkie.org is just being a pushover.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:02 AM on February 20, 2009


Well, they definitely have the right to have one of their lawyers politely ask the owner of the website to voluntarily make some changes in how he uses their content, which it appears is all they did here. If the site owned had declined, and CSPAN had escalated to real legal action of some kind or issued a DMCA or, you know, done something, then this might be a story. But none of that happened.

Augustweed, do you have any evidence for the "claims ownership of ALL domain names containing its service mark" thing? Or did you just invent that to make this sound more dramatic than it is?
posted by ook at 8:13 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


ook. They stated:

We agreed that by next week you would voluntarily do the following:

1. Stop using a domain name containing our service mark “C-SPAN” or any variation of it.
2. Host only C-SPAN video that is coverage of Congress (including hearings) or government-sponsored events (as we discussed) and leave the C-SPAN logo on screen to identify the source of the video.


Unless they are singling-out CSJ, that's how I read it. So unless they are saying, "only YOU, CSpan Junkie, cannot use our service mark or any variation of it," then yes I think they believe they own all variations or they will take action. Who's to know unless other sites post encounters with the C-Span legal Nazis.
posted by augustweed at 2:32 PM on February 20, 2009


I love lawyers.

Take the word 'voluntarily'.. Yup, that's the word I would use to describe the series of steps that were 'suggested' to me by corporate lawyers who send me letters and call me up.

Yeah, so, in deciding between my house, car, and financial future (attempting to defend a lawsuit from a large corporation) and capitulating to the demands that were dictated - I understand the decision to succumb to those demands.

CSPAN started as a public service by a the cable companies. Good on them; what they do serves a purpose. It also seems apparent that now they are interested in asserting control and rights over this sort of content and that the government should step in and fill this role. Ensuring the public has access to the raw data of our democracy seems paramount to a functional democracy.

This includes not only the house and senate broadcasts, but other Washington functions and press conferences (cable news should only be our filter if we choose it).

Regardless of the legal merits of their demands, CSPAN does have the right to be assholes.

Oh, yeah, and even if assholes, they certainly are not Nazis (could we reserve that term for actual Nazi's, or perhaps neo-Nazis?).

Assholes are not Nazis (but Nazis are Assholes).
posted by el io at 8:12 PM on February 20, 2009


Okay, first off: this word "nazi"? You're devaluing it. Stop that.

Second off: let's try this as an analogy.

Suppose I, as the grumpy older gentleman that I am, were to send you a letter asking you to kindly vacate my lawn. And suppose you were to respond by posting signs throughout the neighborhood reading OOK CLAIMS OWNERSHIP OF ALL LAWNS, FIELDS AND GRASSLAND EVERYWHERE.

Do you see the disconnect there?

C-SPAN hasn't claimed ownership of anything, they aren't oppressing this guy, they haven't actually done anything. They asked this guy if he'd stop using his domain name voluntarily, and he said yes.

Now if he'd said no, there are a number of ways it might've evolved from there. They might have issued a DMCA regarding their copyrighted content (and only their copyrighted content, not e.g. congressional coverage.) But they didn't. (While we're at it, and setting legal questions aside for the moment, trimming the c-span logo out of their videos is kind of a dick move on his part, frankly.) They might have filed a claim based on the service mark. Or they might have just left it alone, as not worth the effort of a lawsuit. In any case, they didn't. One thing they certainly would not have done is claimed ownership of ALL domain names containing their service mark, because there's already plenty of legal precedent to show such a claim as wildly overreaching, and bad press besides.
posted by ook at 8:23 PM on February 20, 2009


Didn't Microsoft already take out rights to all the letters in the alphabet, like ten years ago?
You might be thinking of when they patented ones and zeroes.
posted by Flunkie at 9:08 PM on February 20, 2009


« Older Waka-waka-waka   |   Movies in 4,096 Colors Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments