CNET has a rather alarming interview with a member of the Federal Election Commision about the possiblity of enforcing rules that would make things such as linking to a politician's site, sending e-mail about an issue, and the whole spectrum of political advocacy and or criticism. illlegal. What is also really interesting in the whole citizen journalism discussion is the fact that as outlined below it is implied that online media whehter is a personal site or the NYTimes is included in the definition of the exemption. Not sure what to believe or not to believe here . From the article:
Why wouldn't the news exemption cover bloggers and online media?
Because the statute refers to periodicals or broadcast, and it's not clear the Internet is either of those. Second, because there's no standard for being a blogger, anyone can claim to be one, and we're back to the deregulated Internet that the judge objected to. Also I think some of my colleagues on the commission would be uncomfortable with that kind of blanket exemption.
So if you're using text that the campaign sends you, and you're reproducing it on your blog or forwarding it to a mailing list, you could be in trouble?
Yes. In fact, the regulations are very specific that reproducing a campaign's material is a reproduction for purpose of triggering the law. That'll count as an expenditure that counts against campaign finance law.
This is an incredible thicket. If someone else doesn't take action, for instance in Congress, we're running a real possibility of serious Internet regulation. It's going to be bizarre.