Obama Calls On Democrats To Freely Share Democratic Debate Videos

May 4th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Video Downloads, Internet TV, Podcasting Law, Video, Video Podcasts, Vlogs

Presidential candidate Barack Obama on Thursday called on Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to make video from any Democratic presidential debates available “for free and without restriction.”

Obama supports a call from Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig to share the debate videos and eliminate unnecessary regulation of political speech.

“Technology has exploded the opportunity for people to comment upon, and spread political speech,” writes Lessig. “Democracy is all about encouraging citizens to participate in that debate. And all of us, whether Democrats or Republicans, should push to remove unnecessary burdens to that participation.”
The move would let people freely share the videos over the Internet and to include them in video podcasts and other Internet videos.

Dear Chairman Dean:

I am writing in strong support of a letter from a bipartisan coalition of academics, bloggers and Internet activists recently addressed to you and the Democratic National Committee. The letter asks that the video from any Democratic Presidential debate be available freely after the debate, by either placing the video in the public domain, or licensing it under a Creative Commons (Attribution) license.

As you know, the Internet has enabled an extraordinary range of citizens to participate in the political dialogue around this election. Much of that participation will take the form of citizen generated content. We, as a Party, should do everything that we can to encourage this participation. Not only will it keep us focused on the issues that matter most to America, it will also encourage participation by a wide range of our youth who have traditionally simply tuned out from politics.

The letter does not propose some radical change in copyright law, or an unjustified expansion in “fair use.” Instead, it simply asks that any purported copyright owner of video from the debates waive that copyright.

I am a strong believer in the importance of copyright, especially in a digital age. But there is no reason that this particular class of content needs the protection. We have incentive enough to debate. The networks have incentive enough to broadcast those debates. Rather than restricting the product of those debates, we should instead make sure that our democracy and citizens have the chance to benefit from them in all the ways that technology makes possible.

Your presidential campaign used the Internet to break new ground in citizen political participation. I would urge you to take the lead again by continuing to support this important medium of political speech. And I offer whatever help I can to secure the support of others as well.


Barack Obama

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