Fair Use of Presidential Debates: Scorecard Update

By Pete Salsich III

Since Professor Lessig and a large bi-partisan group of others issued their call to the Repubican and Democratic National Committees to require television networks to make the video recordings of all Presidential Debates available to the public for free -- either by placing the videos in the public domain or issuing them under a Creative Commons (Attribution) license (see earlier post here) -- several candidates and two networks have weighed in.

According to Lessig's blog, Democrats Barack Obama, John Edwards and Chris Dodd have all written strong letters to the DNC announcing their support for this proposal.  Apparently there is nothing yet from any of the Republican candidates, and Democrat Hillary Clinton has also remained silent. 

Among the networks, CNN has come out in support of this proposal and has announced that it will place no restrictions on presidential debate footage:

Due to the historical nature of presidential debates and the significance of these forums to the American public, CNN believes strongly that the debates should be accessible to the public. The candidates need to be held accountable for what they say throughout the election process. The presidential debates are an integral part of our system of government, in which the American people have the opportunity to make informed choices about who will serve them. Therefore, CNN debate coverage will be made available without restrictions at the conclusion of each live debate. We believe this is good for the country and good for the electoral process.

By contrast, Lessig and USA Today's OnPolitics blog are reporting that Fox News Channel will not follow CNN's lead and will not make its video footage available for all to use. 

No word  yet from either the RNC or the DNC.  Check with Lessig for regular updates -- he's keeping a good scorecard . . .

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