Re: Presidential Debates...

Mark Richie (
Tue, 27 Feb 2001 15:49:06 -0800 (PST)

Based on the reply from Bob Browning, I would say you are on thin ice
claiming PD for the broadcasts.

The fact that they do this as a "public service" does not mean that the
broadcast is not copyrighted, bookends and all. It means that they did
it to comply with FCC braodcast licence requirements and didn't inturupt
it with commercials.

Don't put debates and presidential speeches in the same basket. Debates
as broadcast are clearly the copyrighted property of the network and/or
sponsoring agency (you can't buy presidential debates from the League of
Women Voters).

On the other hand, what the president says at a public event is PD
because he is 1) a government employee and 2) it is public record.
What he SAYS is and how it is PRINTED by the government is PD, sections
of the law cover that.
But the question here is a video version, and performance of a video
version at that.
Go to the web sites of several presidential libraries and the national
archives for that matter. There are miles of film and tape in the Public
DOmain that were shot by Government Employees.
But even in the national archives site, they make note that PERMISSIONS
must be obtained to use much of their footage originally shot by
Hmmmmmm. Mark Richie

Patricia O'Donnell wrote:
> This is all very interesting. It's true that networks all display a "bug"
> at the corner of the screen during most broadcasts, but that does not give
> them ownership of the content. Don't networks broadcast these types of
> addresses as a public service? I agree that the "bookend" programming
> belongs to the networks, but the actual debates, addresses, speeches---I
> believe they're PD.
> Pat
> Regards,
> Patricia O'Donnell , Manager
> OID-Instructional Media Library
> (310) 206-1248