Obama Hijacks MySpace Page, Mails Howard Dean

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[ Social Media]

Talk about mixed emotions. I like Barack Obama – at least, as seen on TV – and just when I started to like him more because of a letter he sent to Democratic National Convention Chair Howlin’ Howard Dean urging him to put debate video under public license, the Washington Post reports his campaign officers butting his biggest fan out of MySpace.

Because I like him, I want to say it was his campaign managers and not Obama. So let’s start with the good news first.

Last week, Stanford Law’s Lawrence Lessig petitioned both the DNC and RNC to arrange with the TV networks for open licensing of debate footage. The purpose of public domain licensing, or at least, Creative Commons licensing was so online participants could post, share, or even remix footage.

It’s all about furthering the democratic process, you see.

It didn’t take Obama long to join Lessig, Jimmy Wales, Arianna Huffington, and even Michelle Malkin in that cause. The Illinois Senator pounded out a letter to Dean, asking for his support of not only open licensing, but also of "citizen generated content."

"We, as a Party, should do everything that we can to encourage this participation," he writes. "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."

Though a believer in strong copyright protection in the digital age, Obama denied that political debate footage needed the same considerations, and noted also that televisions would still have incentive enough to broadcast.

All that’s well and good, but an already somewhat controversial candidate, especially one that espouses the cause of the little guy while pounding the podium on the power of "citizen generated media," should watch how his campaign managers handle the little guy’s contributions.

Joe Anthony, WaPo reports, is a 29-year-old paralegal who has dug Obama ever since his landmark speech at the DNC in 2004 (landmark because, as a freshman Senator, nobody’d ever heard of him before that, but everybody liked what they heard) that he created a MySpace fan page.

Obama and his crew dug Anthony’s page so much they made it their official MySpace home. 160,000 friends later, a campaign spokesperson says Anthony’s page is "bigger than him" (campaign spokespersons should really watch their grammar, don’t you think?) and took the page over.

And when I say, took it over, I mean they got MySpace to block Anthony from accessing it. They could do that, says MySpace, because the address had Obama’s name in it.

Though the details of the dispute are murky, WaPo’s Jose Antonio Vargas reports Anthony sent the campaign a $39,000 bill for over two years of service, and removed his name from the Obama friends list.

Oh well, love the sinner not the sin they say – at least until the sinnin’ gets out of hand. 


Obama Hijacks MySpace Page, Mails Howard Dean
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