Wired is running another good piece by Lawrence Lessig discussing the role of copyright and the media in politics:
> The US president owns neither his words nor his image – at least not when he speaks in public on important matters. Anyone is free to use what he says, and the way he says it, to criticize or to praise. The president, in this sense, is “free.” But what happens when the commander in chief uses private venues to deliver public messages, holding fewer press conferences and making more talk-show appearances? Who controls his words and images then?
No matter who you plan to vote for come November (if you have even decided yet), it is important to know everything you can. At this point in time, we need to keep the media accountable, we need to ensure that they aren’t filtering what we see, purely to guarantee a future interview with a candidate. They are supposed to be on our side, telling us as much as possible about every politician. Now, I am not saying that they have to show something that they feel doesn’t belong in their pieces, but that shouldn’t preclude them from offering the rights for others to show that same footage. As Mr. Lessig points out:
> Copyright law gives NBC the power to deny anyone the use of its content, at least presumptively. If you want to rebroadcast Meet the Press or sell copies on the Internet, you need NBC’s permission. There are exceptions, at least in theory. The law, for example, exempts “fair uses” of copyrighted material from the control of its owner. If a clip is short enough, or if its use is sufficiently transformative or critical, then the law allows its use, whether permission is granted or not.
> In practice, however, the matter isn’t that simple. Because copyright law is so uncertain, and because insurance companies that indemnify films don’t much like risk, the practice among auteurs seeking major distribution is to cut any clip for which permission isn’t granted – fair use notwithstanding.