Last week, Stanford Law School professor and Net activist Lawrence Lessig (who also founded Creative Commons and Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society) wrote an open letter to the chairs of the Republican National Convention (RNC) and Democratic National Convention (DNC), asking that video footage from party presidential debates able to be “shared, re-used, and freely blogged about without the uploader of the video being deemed a lawbreaker.”
Lessig, along with 75 other Internet VIPs such as Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, Craig Newmark of Craigslist and Ariana Huffington of The Huffington Post, is now joined by big-timers from both sides of the Red-Blue divide.
Republican bloggers like Matt Margolis, who operates “Blogs for Bush” have sent letters to the chair of their National Convention. Recently, presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Barack Obama, too, have shown their support for free distribution of debate content.
Scandal was born after MSNBC’s live internet stream of the Democratic presidential debates last week. MSNBC claimed that no footage could be distributed on the Internet and that no one was allowed to use excerpts after May 26, 2007, and could not archive them, either. Outrage in the online community sparked Lessig’s letter, and now has taken a prominent role in discussion of the debates.
As Obama points out in his letter to DNC Chair Howard Dean, open video access engages youth (I, for one, watched the debates online) and promotes a political dialogue in the form of bloggers, et al.