House of Commons reverses ‘censorship’ policy

After almost two years, the House of Commons Board of Internal Economy has responded to complaints by Canuck Politics and others regarding the removal of videos of Parliamentary debate from video sharing websites such as YouTube.

In April 2007, somebody at the Board of Internal Economy filed a DMCA take-down notice with YouTube, resulting in one of Canuck Politics’ videos being removed.

Canuck Politics filed a complaint with the Board of Internal Economy asserting fair dealing privileges.  The case was assigned to a Parliamentary Council in the Clerks office, who responded to say that the Board would examine the issue.

In the 22 months since, no further DMCA take-down notices were filed, and Canuck Politics has uploaded dozens of similar videos without incident.

Today the Clerk’s Office responded to the complaint, citing a recent decision by the House Standing Committee on Procedural Affairs that now allows non-commercial reproduction of of the proceedings of the House of Commons and its Committees:

Reproduction of the proceedings of the House of Commons and its Committees, in whole or in part and in any medium, is hereby permitted provided that the reproduction is accurate and is not presented as official. This permission does not extend to reproduction, distribution or use for commercial purpose of financial gain. Reproduction or use outside this permission or without authorization may be treated as copyright infringement in accordance with the Copyright Act.

While Canadian political blogs and social media are already far ahead of the House of Commons on this question, it is encouraging to see the Board of Internal Economy responding to the concerns raised.

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