Thursday, May 24, 2007

DNC Needs To Take Over The Monthly Debates

How about the DNC take over and the networks are given a choice. The DNC will invite along about 20 video bloggers, all of whom will participate under the condition they may not use any video footage for the 24 hours after the debates are over. After that, anything goes. So the TV networks still get a full run for the first 24 hours. And if the networks do not come along for this fair deal, they should be simply kicked out and the videobloggers should have full access, and the rights to broadcast right away. I hope it does not come to that. I hope a way can be found for Old Media and New Media to coexist.

The current arrangement is not okay. Old media has a monopoly over the debates. New media has been excluded. This is unhealthy for democracy. If the debates are videoblogged, that will spark a genuine dialogue across the country on all the important issues of the day. Videoblogging the debates means they can be played and replayed at one's leisure. That will also mean the candidates will become less dependent on expensive, mindless, 30 second TV ads. That will be a healthy departure.

When the fundamental architecture of the primary calendar is shifting such that looks like the country is moving towards a national primary - it is going to be one tight month - and so it is not going to be humanly possible for the candidates to show up all places in person, these monthly debates become even more important. During these debates the voters really get to take a look at the candidates from many different angles.

Used to be there were these three big debates before November. Now we are going to get monthly debates for nine months. This is a new, welcome development.

Why even have the 24 hour rule? Let the networks and the video bloggers have a go at it at once. Let them compete for attention.

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.


Barack Obama

May 3, 2007

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