Recently, I was invited to participate in a public forum for the Mayoral race in Petaluma. Part of the invitation included the text of the release form that I would be required to sign in order to take part in the event.
I hereby assign all rights to the videotape and sound recording made of me on September 21, 2010, by Petaluma Community Access, and I hereby authorize the reproduction, copyright, exhibition, broadcast and/or distribution of said videotape for the purpose of cable or telecast to residents of Sonoma County as well as mounting streaming media on the League of Woman Voters Smart Voter website.
It was the 'assign all rights' and the authorization of copyright to another entitity of a creative work of which I would be a part of that has me extremely concerned. Not so much for the release of my rights to a piece of media that I would be a part of, but for the release of other's rights to use that media in a way that I approve of. As the sole copyright holder, Petaluma Community Access could use, resell, and basically do with as they wish, any or all of the video, and neither myself nor anyone else on the video would have any say as to what that use may be, and it is this ownership that I find reprehensible.
Let me explain by citing what I would view as a worst case scenario. Picture if you will, either myself or another candidate saying something extremely profound (or unbelievably foolish) while being recorded, and later, a musician or artist takes a sample of the video and uses it to create a new piece of media; perhaps a video or a song. As the copyright holder of the original work, Petaluma Community Access would have the legal authority to sue the new media creator, and I, as a participant in the original video but not a copyright holder, would have no right to give my permission to the artist to use a video of me to make a new creative work.
Yes, I said "give my permission". In fact, it would be my preference that any video, not created by a government entity, of myself speaking about politics be released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. This license would allow anyone to share, remix, or adapt the work into a new piece of media providing the new creator did the follow:
- Give attribution to the original creator
- Allow others to share the new work in the same way that the original was shared
However, when I contacted Petaluma Community Access and inquired as to how the video would be licensed, the person I spoke to didn't know but would find out and get back to me. Unfortunately no one got back to me.
There are some who will say "that is the nature of the beast", or "that is the price of running for office", or even worse "that is the way the system works". To me, this attitude of blind faith in the status quo is one of the ills of our political system. While it would certainly help spread the word of my campaign if I were to attend the forum, on principle I am going to have to decline the invitation.