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2008: Debate Coverage and the Internet

Publication Date: 
April 25, 2007
The New York Times
Kate Phillips

"The Caucus," the New York Times' political blog, discusses the "diverse assortment of high-profile Internet voices" who have asked the chairs of the Republican and Democratic parties to make televised footage of presidential debates accessible on the Internet:

Mr. Lessig, a Stanford law professor and the founder of the Center for Internet and Society, writes today at his site:

This next political cycle will see an explosion of citizen generated political content. Some of that speech will be crafted from clips taken from the presidential debates. Some of that will be fantastically valuable and important. Yet as the law is right now, it is extremely difficult for an ordinary citizen to understand the boundaries of “fair use,” or the limits to copyright law.

...Some friends (old and new) and I are therefore calling upon both major political parties to make this problem go away. Not by changing the law, or by supporting some expensive and time consuming litigation. But instead, by simply promising to require of any network broadcasting presidential debates (at least) that they license the debates freely after they are initially broadcast — either by putting the debates into the public domain, or by permitting anyone to use or remix the contents of those debates, for any reason whatsoever, so long as there is attribution back to any purported copyright holder.