Free the Presidential Debates

Barack Obama and John Edwards have both written letters this week calling on presidential debates to be released under a Creative Commons license.

Edwards' take:

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.

I didn't expect a copyright licensing issue to get this kind of attention, but Creative Commons has become an effective lever to pry open content that should rightfully be shared. There's a rising expectation among the public that we should be able to reuse and remix material like this -- C-Span responded to the same pressure in March by allowing non-commercial reuse of the videos it produces at Congressional hearings, federal agency briefings, and White House events.


I agree with both Presidential canidates that the debate should be released under the creative commons license

The success of Creative Commons in a way saddens me. It had so much potential: the reclaiming of the public domain after the copyright law changes in late 1980s and the 1990s.

But CC is just too complicated: several licenses, a versioning system, and "variables," such as allowing the copyright owner to specify custom methods of attribution ("You've got to link to my web site, using the blink tag and Chuckwagon Bold").

They should have just gone with a simple license, requiring attribution by name, no links, commercial use allowed, and people who wanted more protetion still have normal copyright.

I don't see where Creative Commons is so complicated that it deters adoption. More than 33 million photos are licensed under it on Flickr, for instance.

Add a Comment

All comments are moderated before publication. These HTML tags are permitted: <p>, <b>, <i>, <a>, and <blockquote>. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA (for which the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply).