April 29, 2007 · Lessig
So when I was talking to others about the petition to the RNC/DNC, I was frankly hesitant just because it seemed so obvious. Why would any network resist? Then I read MSNBC’s rules for the use of its recent debate, and realized (once again) just how clueless I am.
USAGE RULES FOR USE OF AUDIO OR VIDEO OF MSNBC MATERIAL RULES FOR “THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES DEBATE” FROM MSNBC:
(The following rules apply to all media organizations that are not part of NBC)
News organizations, including radio, network television, cable television and local television may use excerpts of “The South Carolina Democratic Candidates Debate” subject to the following restrictions (internet use is not permitted):
1. An unobstructed onscreen credit “MSNBC” must appear during each debate excerpt and remain on screen for the entire excerpt.
2. Each debate excerpt must be introduced with an audio credit to MSNBC.
3. No excerpt may air in any medium until the live debate concludes at 8:30 pm ET.
4. No more than a combined total of 2 minutes of excerpts may be chosen for use during the period from the end of the live debate (8:30 pm ET) until 1:00 am ET on Friday, April 27. After 1:00 am ET, Friday, April 27, a total of 10 minutes may be selected (including any excerpts aired before 1:00AM). The selected excerpts may air as often as desired but the total of excerpts chosen may not exceed the limits outlined.
5. No excerpts may be aired after 8:30 pm on Saturday, May 26th. Excerpts may not be archived. Any further use of excerpts is by express permission of MSNBC only.
6. All debate excerpts must be taped directly from MSNBC’s cablecast or obtained directly from MSNBC and may not be obtained from other sources, such as satellite or other forms of transmission. No portions of the live event not aired by MSNBC may be used.
A feed of MSNBC’s telecast of the debate will be provided (details below), additionally limited audio/video mults will be available on site in the media center.
This is ridiculous. I’m grateful to everyone who wrote to RNC/DNC. I’ve spoken to the DNC. I’ve not yet been able to get the RNC to return a telephone call.
But this issue should move beyond the parties to the candidates. No candidate should agree to be a part of a debate broadcast by an organization that purports to exercise this type of control over the video of the debate. No candidate, that is, that understands this century.