REVEALED: CNN threatens YouTube channels that plan to provide Trump-Biden debate commentary

"We are not granting digital entities the right to stream the debate on their own YouTube channels."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

On Monday night's episode of Timcast, host Tim Pool revealed that CNN, which is hosting the first presidential debate of the general election season on Thursday, has warned any YouTube channels that intend to live stream the debate while providing commentary for viewers that this would not be permitted under copyright. The debate will be hosted by Jake Tapper.

"Confirming that we are offering digital platforms the ability to stream the debate only via CNN YouTube," said a CNN spox to Pool in a message reviewed by The Post Millennial. "We are not granting digital entities the right to stream the debate on their own YouTube channels. I hope that helps."

Pool also had a phone call with CNN, arranged by YouTube, which he discussed on air. He said that he'd received a message from YouTube last week "asking to hop on a phone call to discuss the RNC and the presidential cycle." During that call, which happened on Monday, he "briefly spoke with some individuals at YouTube... who made it clear that CNN reached out and is expressing concern, I don't know the full extent, but making it known that YouTube better contact their news programs over the CNN debate."

Pool and his team have previously streamed and commented on presidential debates in the past. After one debate, which had been broadcast on Fox, the network claimed that they had copyright protection for the content and made threats against several channels. Those threats were eventually dropped.

"Now of course, like all presidential debates," Pool continued, "which is the epitome of civic responsibility, of civic participation. We will provide live commentary and fact-checking on this presidential debate as we have done for every other so long as the show has been around.

"In a show of good faith," he said, "YouTube asked me to reach out to CNN to see if if there was anything they would be looking for in this regard. Because apparently they are asking other networks who are doing the exact same thing to abide by certain restrictions." Pool reached out, only to find that the network insisted that they would not allow anyone on YouTube, other than those who had been granted specific permission.

This was confirmed by Post Millennial reporter Sara Higdon, who will be attending the debate in Atlanta, and received an email from CNN prior to the debate concerning digital use. It reads: 

"Streaming Use: CNN’s debates are exclusive to CNN and may not be streamed or streamed with verbal or digital commentary on any platform or social media site by another party, other than the embeddable YouTube player via the CNN YouTube channel."

"Podcast Use: Similar to broadcast rules, news organizations may use audio clips (up to 3:00 minutes at a time) on their shows after the debate conclude and must credit the 'CNN Presidential Debate' verbally in introducing the clip."

Press will not be permitted in the debate hall, per rules demanded by Joe Biden's campaign. Mics will be cut strictly at the end of two-minute time periods and there will be absolutely no audience. Press will be made to watch from a Spin Room, and while some selected photographers will be permitted to shoot in the debate hall, they "are required to remain stationary throughout the debate."

The network appears to believe that having been granted permission to host the presidential debate means that they are entitled to ownership of all the footage of that debate. They seem to feel that they are creators of the content instead of broadcasters of content that would exist in some form even if the network did not. Pool, however, will be a creator, a pundit, while streaming and commenting on the debate. 

"CNN is now threatening any social channels that provide commentary on the debate," Pool posted, "stating they will not allow the use outside of CNN Commentary on a presidential debate is the epitome of fair use and we fully intend to provide insight and real time fact checking Thursday LIVE."

Pool had a response for CNN. "My response immediately was commentary on Presidential Debates is the epitome of fair use. Hope that helps," he told viewers.

"We have two people running for the president of this country," Pool said, "one of them the current president, and we're going to fact-check and we're going to comment and we are going to call them out in real time. If we can't do that, if no one else can, then that's strict, that's severely limiting civic participation.

"And it's allowing a biased network, that in the past has likened Trump to Hitler, to control who can and cannot fact check this man. And as we know it special rules for this debate. They are seeking to control that narrative. And I believe that is exactly why they reached out to YouTube, and why YouTube reached out to me, because they don't want anyone to break their narrative. That's the dirty game. They're playing. It's going to be a fun Thursday."

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