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The National Journal

Obama Copyright Move Cheers Advocacy Groups

Amy Harder

A broad coalition of digital advocacy groups and individuals, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation,'s Eli Pariser and Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig, are applauding Barack Obama's stated commitment to open government and suggesting ways he can show that commitment further.

In a new Web site that went
up Tuesday, the groups lay out three principles they hope the incoming
administration will follow. Obama's transition team pre-emptively
agreed to the first one by announcing
Monday that its Web site,, will implement a new copyright
policy -- the Creative Commons License -- that allows for more
widespread use of its content.

Lessig applauded the move Monday on his blog.
The Stanford professor, representing the group Change Congress, is
spearheading the coalition's effort along with Mozilla and the
Participatory Culture Foundation. The groups have had a "back channel
back-and-forth" with the new
administration, and the new Web site could serve as a way to allow more
input, he said.


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"Nobody knows exactly the best way to do this right now," he said. "So
that calls for this kind of ongoing discussion, both inside and outside
of the administration."

and company hope the incoming administration will agree to post videos
onto sites other than just YouTube, such as blip.TV, so users can more
easily download them. YouTube currently doesn't actively promote
downloading. The administration got rid of the legal barrier by
switching to the new copyright policy, and now it needs to get rid of
the technological barrier, Lessig said. The group's letter also called
upon the president-elect to make sure that all information, such as
video of a press conference, for example, is made available to all
media (whether it's broadcast TV or the Internet) equally. This ensures
fair competition, Lessig said.

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