Gannett and Wisconsin high-school sports bodies are in a fight over streaming games. As more and more people can broadcast even from their mobile phones, I think there’s an important principle at work here and it should be: Tax-supported content is taxpayers’ content. That means that anyone should be able to broadcast public events paid for by the public. This also should include government meetings (which are usually covered by local open-meetings laws). Otherwise, we are going to find governments, bureaucrats, and private bodies trying to stop us from sharing what we see because of commercial interests (or using those interests as a means of control). The problem with my doctrine is that companies that invest in broadcasting events will say they will not be motivated to do so when they don’t hold exclusive rights. It gets very complicated – and expensive – at a university level, I know. But as a matter of principle, I am uncomfortable with government selling control to information we paid for, from research to maps to field hockey.
by Jeff Jarvis