Fixing Ireland’s Footage Famine

One of the strongest forms of political satire is the reuse of footage taken from news stories or other serious sources. The Daily Show in the US, for example, thrives on this kind of comedy- cutting together or redubbing clips of speeches to make their points.

It is quite difficult to do something similar in Ireland, as we don’t have the great array of source footage available. Effectively, the only place you can see a politician interviewed or making a speech is on RTE.

Except… what about the footage from the Houses of the Oireachtas themselves? There are cameras in the Dail and Seanad as well as 4 committee rooms. Why shouldn’t citizens use the pictures of the doings and sayings of their elected representatives? Why shouldn’t they comment on them, debate them, or make fun of them as they see fit?

Well, the first stumbling block is how to get hold of the footage for home use. The answer might seem to just use a programme like VLAN to record the streamed footage and then re-edit it for your own political or satirical purposes.

The problem there is that if you did so you might be breaching the terms of the rules of coverage set down in Standing Orders of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

“… that recordings or extracts of the proceedings shall not be used in programmes of light entertainment, political satire, party political broadcasts or in any form of advertising or publicity, other than in the form of news and current affairs programme trailers…???

I’ll be looking into the basis and strength of that rule and will come back with an answer when I have it.

(This is a repost of a piece I put on VoteTube. I think the legal question it raises makes it suitable for here too)

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