Friday, January 05, 2007

Mass. Legislature's New Media Policy Is Absurd

OK, so now we're open to prosecution for posting something from the Mass. House of Representatives web site? Come and get us! We think we're violating the new "USAGE" POLICY of the Massachusetts House of Representatives by reprinting their "USAGE" policy on our blog (see below). And we'll be guilty in the future if we reprint the text of a bill. Or use excerpts from PUBLIC hearings from their "HouseTV" website. Unbelievable! (Thanks to our friends at Catch of the Day Video News for this tip.)

Government "of the people, by the people, and for the people"? Not in Massachusetts! What are they trying to hide? Who are they trying to silence?

We hear that the Connecticut legislature has started a similar media web site, but that state recognizes that anything that happens in their capitol is the PEOPLE'S BUSINESS! And their Legislature’s media documents belong to the PEOPLE. As it should be here.

In the recent past, you could watch State House proceedings on WGBX Ch. 44, but not any more. Now the State House will broadcast some proceedings live online. That's the good news. (See its new media page.) Up till now, they have not adequately documented or archived sessions and hearings -- not even the most important sessions, such as Constitutional Conventions. (And most hearings will probably continue to be undocumented.) The bad news: The citizens/taxpayers cannot download anything posted on its site for ANY USE without permission from the legislature!

See the new Mass. House media “usage” regulations:


By downloading electronic media (hereinafter, "media") from the Massachusetts House of Representatives "website", and/or any related web pages, domains, and servers (hereinafter, "the website"), website users (hereinafter, "users") agree to the following terms and conditions:
"Media" may be defined as (but not limited to):
Text, as contained in .html, Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, and other applicable document formats
Streaming audio
Streaming video
Audio files, as contained in MP3, WAV, WMA and other applicable file formats
Video files, as contained in MP4, WMV, AVI, MPEG, MOV, and other applicable file formats
Media downloaded from the website is for private use only; the Massachussetts House of Representatives reserves all rights to all downloaded media.
No downloaded media may be reposted or re-used in its entirety in any application without the express written consent of the House of Representatives.
No excerpts of downloaded media may be edited or incorporated into other productions without the express written consent of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Use of any media in the context of political advertising or communication is expressly forbidden.
Usage of VHS or DVD copies of programming ordered from the website is governed by the Broadcast Videocassette Distribution Policy (for discussion purposes).

Hey, guess what: MassResistance does NOT agree to these terms!