May 3, 2007 · Lessig
The Obama campaign posted this today:
Chairman Howard Dean
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St., SE
Washington, DC 20003
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.
Bravo, Senator Obama.
Readers of the Lessig Blog will recall (ok, no one will recall, but that’s why I’m reminding you) what I said about this man three years ago.