|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Today, the same right-left alliance that recently got CNN, ABC, and NBC to liberate their presidential debate video called on FOX to do the same and rescind the “cease and desist” orders sent last week to Republican presidential candidates.
In April, a diverse alliance released letters calling for presidential debate video to be liberated—so that footage could be freely excerpted, shared, blogged, and YouTubed.
The 75 signatories included: Technologists such as the founders of Craiglist and Wikipedia, technology experts like Lawrence Lessig and Carl Malamud, national veterans/women's/civil rights/labor organizations, former Republican FEC Chair Brad Smith, progressives like MoveOn.org Civic Action and DailyKos.com, and conservatives like Redstate.com’s Michael Krempasky and columnist/blogger Michelle Malkin.
Days after the letters were released, CNN announced their debate video could be used “without restriction.” In July, ABC announced the same “without restriction” policy. In August, NBC announced a similar policy, allowing any use of debate video if attributed to MSNBC, provided the primary intent is not commercial and that candidates don’t use NBC moderators in ads.
“This is a moment for leadership -- either by FOX or by both political parties who may choose not to work with FOX in the future,” said Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig. “Political speech should be free for candidates or the audience to use however they believe best advances the cause. There should not be a copyright lawyer standing in the middle.”
“Already FOX is viewed as a partisan network by the Democrats, who will not use that forum for debates,” said Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger and co-founder of RedState.com. “It would be a shame if the Republicans now shut out FOX altogether from the debate process. Every other news organization has liberated their debate footage and FOX should either be no different or no longer have the privilege of airing debates.
Former Republican FEC Chair Brad Smith adds, “Whatever its legal obligations, FOX would perform a public service and enhance its reputation by making its debate footage available to the public at large.”
Despite Fox’s “cease and desist” letter, John McCain continued to air ads featuring a 19 second excerpt from a recent Republican debate on FOX, claiming it was “fair use.”
“John McCain deserves praise for taking on FOX and opposing corporations who want to be gatekeepers of political speech,” said Adam Green, of MoveOn.org Civic Action. “There is no excuse for any network to stifle debate by trying to be the sole decider of which debate moments have a life after debate night.”
"When I spoke with FoxNews about their policy in May, they said they would abide by fair comment and use,” writes PrezVid.com’s Jeff Jarvis. “Well, as Stanford’s Lawrence Lessig has pointed out often, this is the problem with fair use: you can argue about it (and have to hire attorneys to do so)…One way to solve this is for all the candidates to pledge that they will not appear on any network’s debate unless that network frees the footage for all candidates and citizens. It is, after all, our election."
Below are some key links.
Press release – alliance calls on debate video to be liberated, April 25, 2007
Updated list of signers here:
Press release – right-left alliance praises ABC & NBC for liberating presidential debate video, August 8, 2007
CNN May announcement:
Fox announcement – won’t liberate debate video:
Stories on “cease and desist”
"Fox Bars Candidates From Using Its Images," New York Times Caucus Blog, October 26, 2007
"Fox bites McCain," Jeff Jarvis at PrezVid.com, October 26, 2007
"Fox News Tells McCain Not To Use Fox Footage On Web Site -- But Lets Rudy (And Romney) Use It," Greg Sargent at TalkingPointsMemo.com, October 26, 2007
"McCain Rejects Fox Request to Cease Ad," Associated Press, October 25, 2007
"Fox Orders Halt to McCain Ad," New York Times Caucus Blog, October 25, 2007
Presidential candidates who embraced liberating debate video:
Democratic debate schedule:
Republican debate schedule: