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C-SPAN is using Periscope and Facebook Live to broadcast the House sit-in

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C-SPAN

Democrats are in the middle of a sit-in protest on the floor of the US House of Representatives, but C-SPAN isn't allowed to turn its TV cameras on to film it. So it's turned to something else: Periscope and Facebook Live.

C-SPAN has been airing live video from representatives on the House floor; first using Periscope footage from Representative Scott Peters, a Democrat from California, and later using Facebook Live footage from an unnamed source.

It's a smart solution. Peters and other Democrats want their protest to be seen — and judging by C-SPAN's bitter tweets about not being able to turn its cameras on, it does too — so it's fortunate that live-streaming apps have gotten to the point where this is possible. Seeing a blurry vertical video on cable TV might seem strange, but it's a clever workaround that lets C-SPAN continue its job of showing what's happening in Congress, particularly during an eventful moment like this.

The protest began on the House floor around 11:30 this morning. As the House left for recess, Democrats gathered together and refused to leave. Because the House is in recess — and because only the House has the power to turn C-SPAN's cameras on — C-SPAN isn't able to film these events as it normally would.

Democrats are in protest in an attempt to bring gun control legislation to a vote, in response to the attack in Orlando. The Senate accomplished this same feat using a filibuster, although none of the legislation it voted on passed.

It looks like the protest could continue for a while — the House was supposed to return from its recess over three hours ago at this point. As long as that's happening, it seems like Peters will keep streaming and C-SPAN will keep relying on live-streaming. At least, while the stream is working. "Well it's the joy of technology, really," a C-SPAN anchor said during one break from the footage. "It's frozen up a little bit."