Monday, February 4, 2013

Barack Obama is a person

The White House recently released a photo of Obama skeet shooting.  Along with it was a strange-sounding bit that it could only be used for news and not manipulated.  Clearly a blatant attack on free speech!  Or is it?

I don't see what legal weight the caption has.  Perhaps copywrite, in which case, the problem is the limits of copywrite and fair use, not that a tyrannical president is running a cult of personality.

On the other hand, he is a person.  I think people have rights on how their images are used.  Of course if he put, and enforced, that limit on every image of him then that would be a problem.  But surely a person is due some amount of deference, not as president, but as a person.  It is not merely his photo in terms of intellectual property, but his image.

Of course such an appeal to human decency and respect is nowhere in the Constitution.  Were we to follow the Constitution and nothing else we'd be left with little more than the lowest of human vulgarity and anarchy.  Murder isn't even banned and surely there is a precedent in that second amendment.  My point is that the Constitution is a floor.  Maybe a foundation as well.  We should stand on it and build up from there, not sit on the floor screaming at anyone who builds anything.  I don't think the Founding Fathers intended for us to sit on the floor.

We could all get up in arms, literally or figuratively.  We could make a fuss.  Or we could ask questions.  What does that caption actually mean?  Do they plan to enforce it?  Is it even there at Obama's request?  Is it boilerplate phrasing stamped on everything?  Who cares?

My theory is that it is there, that Obama put it there personally.  On his last day in office he will repost that image, edited, with the big letters "YOU GOT TROLLED" typed over it.  The mouseover text will be "wtf is wrong with you?"

1 comment:

Feliz said...

It's a copyright measure. It doesn't limit fair use or free speech. It just tells people how a picture should be used. Somebody in the president's inner circle or family took a picture and expresses the wish that it can be used in a certain way, but don't you dare making money (commercial use) of it or use it in political campaigns.

Seems pretty clear to me. It's identical to you and I taking pictures of us or our computer den and putting a copyright notice on it, be it creative commons or just a line saying you can use it as long as you don't make money of its usage.