Fox Pushed To Free Presidential Debate Videos

    November 2, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Followers of politics won’t see Michelle Malkin and DailyKos on the same page very often, but the cease and desist letters Fox News issued to Republican Presidential candidates regarding the use of debate videos have put them on the same side again.

Fox News

Long after other major networks have relented and permitted the use of their debate videos, Fox News wants all the Republicans running for the Oval Office to stop using theirs.

It wasn’t always this way. Go back a week, where Talking Points Memo noted who received a cease and desist letter on video usage, and who didn’t. John McCain’s campaign got the copyright infringement letter; to McCain’s credit, his campaign declined that request.

Rudy Giuliani, a long-time friend of Fox executive Roger Ailes, had plenty of Fox material on his website. It didn’t seem like his campaign suffered from similar attention from Ailes’ legal people.

After that little conflict became more widely known, Fox told all of the Republicans not to use its videos. That garnered a response from, reprising efforts in April of this year to have networks release Democratic debate videos for others to use.

“It is time that the presidential candidates from both parties stand with Senator McCain and defend his right to use this clip to advance his presidential campaign,” Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig said on his blog.

“Not because it is “fair use” (whether or not it is), but because presidential debates are precisely the sort of things that ought to be free of the insanely complex regulation of speech we call copyright law.”

“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,” Jeff Jarvis said at “It is, after all, our election.”

Prominent conservative voices like blogger Eric Erickson and former Republican FEC Chair Brad Smith have also challenged Fox over the use of debate videos.

Though Fox has partially pulled itself away from a perceived conflict of interest by extending its demands to all Republican candidates, their stance runs counter to their motto of “We Report. You Decide.” It looks like people have decided they want fair use of debate video.