August 9, 2007  ·  Lessig

So I’m back in the USA, welcomed with this very good news.

Months ago, we started a petition here calling on both parties to demand that presidential debates be free. Obama, Edwards, Dodd joined the call immediately. Congressman Livingston (Ret.) did so as well. CNN agreed quickly afterwards. But now, as MoveOn.org reports, ABC/NBC have taken significant steps to join the move to free the presidential debates. ABC’s policy is that footage is “without restrictions on use.” NBC’s is slightly more restrictive — “provided the primary intent is not commercial and that candidates don’t use NBC moderators in ads.”

These are both extremely important moves in the right direction. There will be important ambiguity in what “not commercial” means here (as we’ve been working through with CC licenses). But the move clears the field of unnecessary legal questions — which was the primary objective in our original call last April.

Thanks to everyone who joined the call, and especially the presidential candidates who took the lead in demanding it.

  • http://xmlhacker.com/ M. David Peterson

    Welcome home, Professor Lessig! And congratulations in taking a lead role in such an important victory! With any luck (and, of course, a lot of hard work), this will be the first of many more victories to come. :-)

  • http://ragesossscholar.blogspot.com Sage

    Did CNN ever clarify what “unrestricted use” actually means? Different sources gave some very ambiguous responses, some suggesting that use of the debate videos was only unrestricted through the end of the election cycle. In any case, Wikimedia hasn’t been sufficiently satisfied with the nebulous status of the CNN videos to allow them to be uploaded.