On Tuesday May 19 2015 the NYC Commission on Public Information and Communication (COPIC), Chaired by Public Advocate Letitia James held a hearing at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) focused on the City’s compliance with Local Law 103 of 2013, sponsored by then Council Member Gale Brewer, which requires the webcasting of public meetings. The hearing was be webcast on both the BMCC Livestream Channel and the Internet Society Livestream Channel. Video is below.
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In 2007 Gale Brewer, then Chair of the NYC Council Committee of Technology, introduced a law to amend the City Constitution to require webcasting of all City public meetings. This law applies to the Council, Committees, City Agencies, and Task Forces. The law – 2013-103 – was approved unaniminously by the council on November 14 2013, and signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg on December 2 2013, including a budget of $230k in 2014, and $100k/annum thereafter. The law gives the City 90 days to implement, which time is up on March 1 2014 – this Sunday. On Monday February 24 2014 the Committee, now chaired by Council Member James Vacca, held a public hearing for oversight of the implementation process, in the form of a report by Jeff Merritt from the Mayor’s office. Furthermore, Council Member Vacca and some colleagues have introduced a new law – Int 0028 – that will require Community Boards to also webcast their proceedings, so this hearing was an opportunity for public input on that topic. Speakers included Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, representatives of several Community Boards, and public interest groups Citizen’s Union and Reinvent Albany. The last word came from ISOC-NY’s own Joly MacFie, who emphasized flexibilty and the need for transcripts. Video is below, click through to YouTube for an index. A transcript should be available in a day or two.
This service is from Granicus, who already do a similar thing for Los Angeles and San Francisco’s City Councils, amongst others. It’s a proven system. You can see them here pitching NYC. The search facility is great, allowing viewers to jump directly to the point in any video where a certain phrase is mentioned. That, combined with the fact they also offer downloads puts them way ahead of anything in central government – including the FCC!
The only possible criticism is that it is based on proprietary software, with Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in doing the streaming, and iPod-ready mp4 and mp3 for downloads.
Kevin Goldberg reports on the ongoing case in which webcaster Live365 is challenging the constitutionality of the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), and with it the recently confirmed statutory webcasting rates.
At a recent hearing Judge Walton rejected that request. He did not throw out the case, however, despite his opinion that there was a “substantial” chance of it’s failure.
Kevin notes that it is likely that, if the case proceeds, it could eventually end up again in the hands of the more sympathetic Judge Kavanaugh.
There is no “bright line” to follow in such cases with the Supreme Court having ultimately decided similar conflicts on a case-by-case basis.