b) might want to rethink the name. there is a reason closed captions are called closed, and it's to differentiate them from, well, open captions. if this project becomes a big success (and i really, really hope it does) i'd hate to see an increase in confusion for the accessibility community, which has enough trouble getting people to be aware of the different technologies. Go ask an employee at a movie theater showing open captions about open captions. they won't know what you're talking about.
I did do a quick look into it up front and my gut feeling was that since "opened" and "open" were different it might be OK. I liked the meaning of "Opened Captions." Still a very valid point, and that concern won't go away any time soon. Happy to consider suggestions, and will stew on it more myself as well.
How about "streamed captions"?
Also: The rebroadcasting copyrights have to be fraught with issues. Any comments on that?
As for the CC issues, I'm starting with C-SPAN simply because there is a lot more precedent for legal non-commercial fair use. Using this for other situations is another question. Based on a cursory exploration it seems that there is a strong argument for programmatically accesible syndication being legal in most cases. This means that it is probably fine to use the stream to made a visualization / application that doesn't actually render the transcript to a user, but is simply based on it.
Also, any application that renders the captions but is dedicated to accessibility seems like it may be protected by the law.
Long story short, I'll need to look into it; for now I'm banking on the service as it stands being fair use, which I legitimately believe it is.
It is a C-SPAN transcript that gets increasingly drunk. http://openedcaptions.com/drunk-sapn/
Edit: I misread your post. The Opened Captions servers pull CC data in via serial port. Thanks for providing a bridge to this live data.
May I ask where you got the source for the transcripts of C-SPAN from?
If you wait I'm sure I or someone will add the ability to use a video stream as a source; there are tools out there that pull Closed Captions from video files and streams. For instance http://ccextractor.sourceforge.net/
Heck, maybe you want to add that feature :)