May 3, 2007  ·  Lessig

John Edwards has joined the call to free the debates. Text of his letter to the DNC:

Dear Messrs Walton, Moonves and Zucker, Mses. Sweeney and Kerger, and Dr. Dean:

Selecting a president is the most important responsibility Americans have. In an age of 30-second ads, 7-second sound bites and media consolidation, making an informed decision is harder than ever.

That is why I am asking each news network to make video footage from the presidential debates that they broadcast available on the internet for the public to view and use responsibly. I am also asking Chairman Dean, who is playing a valuable role in organizing many of the Democratic primary debates, to use his influence with the networks to make the debates more broadly available.

The Creative Commons license terms offer an easy way to ensure that the networks’ rights are protected. Much of the content on my own campaign web site is available under just such a license.

Commercial constraints are severe enough in their effect in diluting the substance of our campaigns. Limiting access to long-form televised debates makes matters worse.

This is not a surprising position for the great (and deeply substantive) former Senator. He’s been doing lots of fantastic Internet related stuff. But it is very good sign that he sees this issue as important enough to add his own call. Thank you, Mr. Edwards.

Link to the letter here.

  • Phil

    First, I want to say that I appreciate your work, even if I don’t regularly agree with it- thanks for your interesting writing.

    Secondly- of course Edwards is going to come out for this. He’s been a Netroots sycophant ever since the flap over his impolitic bloggers. There’s no reason for him not to do send this letter- it mobilizes his easily impressed Netroots fans. At the same time, has little risk of efficacy, since the debates at present are a corporate, not public, interest.