You might remember a story from last month out of Virginia, where Democratic lawmakers there were videotaping legislative sessions and putting them on YouTube in an attempt to keep Republicans from engaging in what they saw as dirty politics. Republicans got annoyed, and accused the Democrats of "gotcha" politics. Now, on Capitol Hill in Washington, some Republicans are upset with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because she put some video footage of House floor debate on her blog. They accused her of playing dirty -- but not because of what the videos showed, but because they said Pelosi had "pirated" the videos from C-SPAN. They were forced to retract the allegation after C-SPAN pointed out that videos from the House and Senate floors are shot by government cameras and are in the public domain, so it's fine for Pelosi to publish them. C-SPAN did point out, however, that it had asked Pelosi to remove another clip from her site, which the network had taped with its own cameras at a committee hearing. It's really nice to see politicians catch on to the sad trend of people trying to use bogus copyright claims to attack legal speech they don't like, even when they don't control the copyright in question. It would seem that this is going to be a recurrent problem as more politicians embrace tools like blogs and YouTube, and their rivals decide that it's easier to attack them by alleging piracy or copyright infringement, rather than actually respond in some meaningful way to the issues raised.
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