April 26, 2007 | By Hugh D'Andrade

Putting Presidential Debates in the Creative Commons

With presidential debates right around the corner, it goes without saying that many people will want to use debate footage to comment on, remix, and parody the politics of our time. But there's an unnecessary barrier standing in the way: copyright.

Television networks have traditionally retained exclusive rights to all footage of the presidential debates. While many re-uses for videos on YouTube and other sites would clearly be legally protected as fair uses, the law's uncertainty can chill individuals' ability to participate in our democratic processes in this way.

To remedy this problem, a transpartisan alliance of leading technologists, public advocates, progressive and conservative organizations and Internet entrepreneurs is calling on the Democratic and Republican parties to ensure that all debate footage is in the public domain, or provided under a Creative Commons Attribution license for re-use. Spearheaded by Stanford Law Professor and EFF Board member Lawrence Lessig, the open letters to the parties were signed by former Federal Election Commission Chair Brad Smith, Craig Newmark of Craiglist, Arianna Huffington, EFF Executive Director Shari Steele and EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred Von Lohmann, as well as many others.

You can help this cause by calling the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee in support -- learn more at Lessig's blog.

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