Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

White House Claims Copyright On Flickr Photos

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the toddler's-creed dept.

Government 169

Hugh Pickens writes "US government policy is that photos produced by federal employees as part of their job responsibilities are not subject to copyright in the US. But Kathy Gill writes that after originally putting official White House photos in the public domain, since January the Obama White House has been asserting that no one but 'news organizations' can use its Flickr photos taken by the official White House photographer, who is a US government employee. This change appears to be a heavy-handed response to last month's controversy resulting from a billboard that implied the President endorsed The Weatherproof Garment Co. after the company used an AP photo of the president for a Times Square billboard. However a New York law already protects individuals from unauthorized use of their image for advertising, and the billboard was quickly taken down. Gill writes, 'Whatever the reason, the assertion of these "rights" seems to be in direct contrast to official government policy and is certainly in direct contrast to reasonable expectations by the public, given that the photos are being produced with taxpayer (i.e., public) money. Ironically, the same Flickr page that claims (almost exclusive) copyright also links to the US copyright policy statement.'"

cancel ×

169 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055078)

fp.....

Does this fall under Public Domain? (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055114)

Also, how do you define "news organizations"?

Trying to define them seems like an infringement of Freedom of the Press.

anything that is part of news corp (1, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055160)

anything that is part of news corp

There are actually several kinds of "law" (1, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055648)

There are always several laws, frequently very contradictory, everywhere. The long-written "offcial" law, is supposed to be universally accepted, but isn't. There is acceptance and interpretation of it, first. Then the cultural customs, the political momentum, religious laws, individual morality, social morality, community rules, family rules, secret rules, business rules, contracts, all of which usually conflict in dozens of ways. The wise citizen knows which law to follow in each situation, and more importantly, which is more moral or immoral. Political and business momentum and rules, at this historical moment, basically says copyright law can almost always be used to stop someone who isn't the copyright holder, who is frequently whoever has the most power and lawyers, and some sort of legal argument. Clearly the president, in this case. Even if dozens of public and fair use long-held-written laws say otherwise. In this case however it should also be interesting to investigate how do government produced and owned intellectual property rules work in general. I'm no lawyer, though.

Re:There are actually several kinds of "law" (5, Insightful)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055916)

Title 17 chapter 1 Section 105 of the US code :

105. Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

If this is an independent photographer that has transferred the rights to the photos to the government then yes there could be copyright protection, if the photographer is an employee of the government then these pic should be public domain.

I believe the White House photographer is in fact an employee of the government so there should be absolutely no copyright claim here.

Re:There are actually several kinds of "law" (3, Interesting)

sassy_webgrrl (111403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056608)

It is not an independent photographer, as the seeded article documents.

And this is boilerplate on all photos from the White House, even those that were licensed as public domain in May 2009. IOW, the boilerplate has been made retroactive.

Kathy (the author of the seeded post)

Re:There are actually several kinds of "law" (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055936)

Nice try, but no. What this actually means is that the copyright notice on the flickr page is a mistake and it holds no power. Anyone sued for violating its copyright can yawn in the direction of USC 17.1105 [copyright.gov] and walk out of the courtroom.

Re:There are actually several kinds of "law" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31056418)

Just to be pedantic (this is Slashdot, after all), the proper citation for the U.S. Code would be 17 U.S.C. 105.

Re:There are actually several kinds of "law" (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056662)

well there was a section symbol in there somewhere. Unicode-ignorant slashcode ate it.

Re:There are actually several kinds of "law" (3, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056434)

Anyone sued for violating its copyright can yawn in the direction of USC 17.1105 and walk out of the courtroom.

Except when copyright claims are invoked with DMCA takedown notices. There is no checking of actual legal status before it gets taken down. Especially if the sender is the US government.

Re:There are actually several kinds of "law" (4, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056716)

Couldn't you then sue them for knowingly sending a false DMCA takedown notice? Since the U.S. gov't can't copyright its works, there should be no question of whether the picture is in violation or not.

"I copy mp3 music" (5, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056718)

Yup, official law allows that, too. Someone in the White House could have used a dozen laws to stop use of presidential "endorsements" in ads, but somehow the first that came to their mind was copyright. Legal and strategic mistake, it won't work. Shows something though. A generally accepted social tendency for abuse of copyright powers, for protection in general in all kinds of issues. A certain large burger chain also uses "unathorized copyright use" to shut up people. The law is actually on the side of allowing these and many more uses, but the legal and business environment at the moment says otherwise. Businesses can abuse the law, copyright holders have infinite powers, that is the social-moral "law" of the moment. It influences interpretation of the actual law, modifying application of the law, modifying public behavior, and so IP owners get away with it. Ask thousands of people to join a protest with shirts saying "I copy mp3 music", and they will be afraid, thinking someone somehow will investigate, sue or arrest them. There is nothing illegal on the shirt, but it's going against the current political-business-legal-moral rules-climate.

Re:"I copy mp3 music" (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056770)

So, just to make it clear I'm playing the devil's advocate there, I really think we should make shirts saying "I am a Pirate", and "I copy mp3 music", and explain the legal and historical precedents of the Corsicans and of intellectual property, such as in http://www.stealthisfilm.com/ [stealthisfilm.com]

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055222)

"news organizations"

As defined in the politics dictionary...

Anyone who donates more than $x to the current administration or has influence over y number of
voters.

x is defined as an obscenely large number.
y is defined as an obscenely large number.

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055336)

Could you define obscenely in this context?

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (2, Interesting)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055424)

You'll know it when you've paid it.

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055554)

The bribes are big enough to keep the politician in hookers and blow perpetually.

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055618)

You vastly underestimate a politician's ability to burn through "hooker & blow" money.

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056176)

"The bribes are big enough to keep the politician in hookers and blow perpetually."

I guess we can safely force government workers (Senate, etc.) down to a $1/yr salary, then.

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056164)

xxx

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (4, Insightful)

Mrs. Grundy (680212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055776)

If you look at the actual statement on their Flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/people/whitehouse/) you will see that they aren't making a copyright claim. They state why the photos have been uploaded (for news purposes—purposely vague I imagine) and then go on to indicate that certain uses are prohibited—basically commercial use. There are more reasons that copyright to prohibit commercial use. Appropriating a person's likeness for advertising, promotion, etc. for example is not a copyright issue, but instead comes from privacy torts. There is no reason to believe that if the White House wanted to go after someone for using an image inappropriately that they would use copyright infringement as the basis for their case. The original article misread the language and assumed the White House was claiming copyright ownership.

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (0)

JNSL (1472357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056058)

Somebody please mod this up.

Re:Does this fall under Public Domain? (3, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056262)

They [...] go on to indicate that certain uses are prohibited

Don't they need an authority (like being a copyright holder) to issue licenses like that?

Not merely in contrast to "policy" (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055122)

> ...in direct contrast to official government policy...

In direct contrast to law.

Re:Not merely in contrast to "policy" (2, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055602)

Law has become something about which those in power can emote.

Re:Not merely in contrast to "policy" (4, Informative)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055942)

In direct contrast to law.

Specifically: Title 17, Section 105;

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

Bah (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056684)

Screw the law, just appoint a photo-use-czar. No "advice and consent" needed. Voilà.

Schizophrenia ... (1)

samirbenabid (1223166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055138)

... not only for human beings.

What!? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055154)

Those commie bast...oh, wait, nevermind.

Oh, my Government owns it? No Problem Then! (4, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055174)

Hi. I (a US Citizen) am the owner of these copyrights. As being a such, I hereby grant permission for anyone to use this material freely.

Snark Snark.

Re:Oh, my Government owns it? No Problem Then! (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055228)

You never did get me that tank, so I'm not sure I believe you this time.

Re:Oh, my Government owns it? No Problem Then! (2, Insightful)

graft (556969) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055318)

Actually, this is not true. The material the US government produces is not copyrighted, it is in the public domain (domestically, anyway). This means there is NO copyright holder and therefore no possibility of any license agreement with them.

Re:Oh, my Government owns it? No Problem Then! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055598)

-1 unable to detect humor over the interwebs.

laws don't apply to the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055186)

if you or break a law and get caught, we'll probably have to spend a lot of time or money dealing with the consequence and end up paying a fine or going to jail. If government does it (like misusing tarp funds or falsely claiming copyright or tapping phones) .... nobody is fired, nobody is in jail, there's really no consequence.

Re:laws don't apply to the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31056002)

if you or break a law and get caught, we'll probably have to spend a lot of time or money dealing with the consequence and end up paying a fine or going to jail. If government does it (like misusing tarp funds or falsely claiming copyright or tapping phones) .... nobody is fired, nobody is in jail, there's really no consequence.

Until someone detonates a truck packed with ANFO in front of an office building.

Copyright, yes.. (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055198)

But restrictions, no.

Assuming the judges aren't paid off ahead of time, the first suit will have this nonsense struck down.

Re:Copyright, yes.. (2, Insightful)

arogier (1250960) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055426)

I doubt it will have to see a judge. Some staffer will make an apology and maybe get canned, then some underling's slip up turns into a talking point.

Hah. (4, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055210)

It's not about and never will be about copyright when it comes to government works. It's about control. Bend over Citizen, here come your tax dollars.

Re:Hah. (2, Funny)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055462)

See, moderation is about control too ;) =D

Re:Hah. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055764)

Copyright is about control as well.

Re:Hah. (2, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055978)

Moderated down again, well perhaps I should have spoon fed the meaning more instead of wrapping it up in something that required *thought*. Copyright in this case is the boogaboo. These are works of the US government, the "we the people" part. It *is* yours because as a Citizen you have a *right* to use it in any way you damn well please. The way copyright is being abused in this case is control, it is saying "I know better than you, do not question." Change my ass, meet the new boss same as the old boss. Americans have gone insane and the only reason they shouldn't be put down is that the people really in charge, sworn to the administration but able to resign en-mass at any instant, still have good heads on their shoulders. Admiral, Sir, you deserve an extra salute for putting up with everyone around you shitting their pants and then whining when it isn't cleaned up *just perfect*!

It would seem... (5, Interesting)

lag10 (667114) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055216)

That the Federal Government is overstepping its authority with these images.

To my knowledge, the Feds are only allowed to restrict image use based on its classified status. That is, if it is a matter of national security or not.

Since the Feds are not restricting these images due to security issues, they really don't have a leg to stand on.

You know things are in a sad state of being when even the government disregards the rules of copyright.

Re:It would seem... (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055284)

To my knowledge, the Feds are only allowed to restrict image use based on its classified status.

I thought use of the presidential seal was restricted. I've not seen the photos so I dont know if they
have it or not.

Re:It would seem... (2, Informative)

lag10 (667114) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055316)

To my knowledge, the Feds are only allowed to restrict image use based on its classified status.

I thought use of the presidential seal was restricted. I've not seen the photos so I dont know if they
have it or not.

I believe that the Seal has a special status to avoid misrepresentation of official statements.

These images, on the other hand, are not currently involved with any sort of misrepresentation.

I also believe that the protection of the Seal is inherited from similar protection given to the British Royal Standard.

Re:It would seem... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055482)

smokey the bear was given special protection by law, most likely the presidential seal (and probably other shit) has specific legal protection as well

Re:It would seem... (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055322)

I thought use of the presidential seal was restricted. I've not seen the photos so I dont know if they have it or not.

Most of them do not. [flickr.com]

Re:It would seem... (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055378)

What about the seal of the Office of the President Elect?

Re:It would seem... (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055640)

It bugs me that I can't find it right now, but I'm certain there's a federal law prohibiting businesses from using the President's image or likeness either as an explicit or implied endorsement. So, not only does the law differ from what his administration is trying to claim, there's already a law to deal with the abuse that they're trying to curb.

I like Obama and I voted for him, but every single time I turn around, it looks like his administration is still trying to pound in nails in with a screwdriver.

Re:It would seem... (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055828)

I like Obama and I voted for him, but every single time I turn around, it looks like his administration is still trying to pound in nails in with a screwdriver.

I don't understand this analogy. I use screwdrivers with sturdy handles to tap in small nails all the time, or to get larger ones started.

I might have a car one however, it looks like the administration is trying to move semi trailers with sedans.

Re:It would seem... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31056160)

I like Obama and I voted for him, but every single time I turn around, it looks like his administration is still trying to pound in nails in with a screwdriver.

I don't understand this analogy. I use screwdrivers with sturdy handles to tap in small nails all the time, or to get larger ones started.

Okay, how about this one: Every single time I turn around, it looks like his administration is still trying to screw you with a hammer.

Re:It would seem... (1)

mogness (1697042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056734)

where's bad analogy guy when you need him most?

Re:It would seem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31056654)

I don't understand this analogy. To me, it looks like the Obama administration is trying to dig a foxhole with a spoon.

Re:It would seem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31056032)

Like Corporation, like government? Are we blurring the lines yet?

This will all be forgotten . . . (1, Insightful)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055224)

. . . by slashdotters come the next presidential election.

What qualifies as a "news organization" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055262)

"asserting that no one but 'news organizations' can use its Flickr photos taken by the official White House photographer"

Just about anyone can be a news organization right? or are there rules like a requirement of a subscriber base of X level say 10,000...or something?

It eliminates the fake advertisement endorsements ok i suppose.

I'd like to claim copyright on some images (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055326)

I had nothing to do with creating them but since the law seems secondary and everyone is going crazy and trying to claim they own every image, I think I'd like to lay claim to a few photos I like. I want to start with all the Hubble Images. Actually make that all astro photos. I like them. I should own them. I'd also like to lay claim to all images of sunsets and sunrises. They are cool. Oh and the grand canyon. I've always wanted to visit but never gotten there so this is the next best thing. Which brings me to all images in Yosemite and Yellow Stone. Oh and all nature photos. Well all the good ones. Closer to home I'd like to claim all images of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. (They can keep the images of Sydney Tower - they're ugly). Of course I have no basis in law or reality for that matter for such wild claims. But that doesn't seem to be stopping anyone these days.

Re:I'd like to claim copyright on some images (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055474)

I'll take all the porn.

Re:I'd like to claim copyright on some images (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055826)

I have a patent on photographing landmarks. So you owe me royalties.

First pOst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055354)

it just 0wnz.', it. Do not share opinion in other guest and never get discuusions on has run faster Won't be shouting Kill myself like filed countersuit,

Par for the course (3, Interesting)

sictransitgloriacfa (1739280) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055390)

Aaaand the Democrats continue their almost-perfect record of being totally clueless and draconian on copyright issues.

Re:Par for the course (2, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055714)

You say that as though they have a monopoly on it. This is not a partisan issue.

Re:Par for the course (4, Insightful)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056120)

This is not a partisan issue.

Nope, both parties are equally clueless on copyright.

There's a good percentage of voters out there, though, who unfortunately believed that a politician groomed by the Mayor Daley's Machine would suddenly become a champion of human rights once he reached the Presidency.

Whoops.

It'd be interesting to hear what Lawrence Lessig has to say about this stunt, given that Lessig was/is a big supporter of Obama.

Re:Par for the course (2, Informative)

JNSL (1472357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056114)

Except this isn't a copyright issue. The prohibition is on image, not the picture.

Re:Par for the course (2, Insightful)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056274)

And Slashdot readers continue their 100% perfect record of not questioning the summary if it says something bad about someone they don't like.

The actual claim on Flickr doesn't mention copyright at all. It says

"This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House. "

In fewer words:

  - We made this available for particular purposes.
  - You may not manipulate it.
  - It may not be used in a way that suggests endorsement.

The second claim is wrong, because there's no basis for it, but the other two look correct. But there's no mention of copyright anywhere.

Re:Par for the course (3, Interesting)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056300)

s/Democrats/elected officials/g

Don't use Barry's photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055406)

Or else he'll have you buried in an Obama t-shirt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2utB1DcEIw [youtube.com]

Do you like the MTV moon promos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055436)

If so, you can thank the government. That film was in the public domain, which let a relatively poor MTV utilize it for their early spots.

obama is fucking you white man (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055510)

he's got his dick planted firmly in your ass.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055576)

...anybody still seriously believe that Obama is that much better than Bush on ALL fronts?

Re:So... (1)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055650)

What difference does it make who answers this in what fashion? All parties have idiots, lemmings, hypocrites, asshats and liars. You'll never get the plain truth out of people and to think that the majority of any party's members are going to see that they're just a supporter of the other side of the same coin is unthinkable.

If the majority of people ever came to see the truth about their parties there would be a major political upheaval. And, from where I sit, it's never going to happen. For as many glimmers of hope we've had that the choke hold on Washington or even state government was going to be broken they've all been false hopes in the end.

But, please, if you're dissatisfied with the dim wittedness of our leadership please take the time to consider a third party alternative. If for no other reason than to show that those in command today deserve a vote of None Of The Above.

What did you expect... (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055594)

...with Biden being a known media industry pupped, and half the white house staff coming straight out of media industry jobs?

They are known to have a distorted reality, and not care about anything else but their own money.

But hey, it’s what people in the US wanted, after all. (Also true for most other countries in the world.) It’s the very reason they voted for one of the (two big) straw-men parties.
Protip: When people say they don’t like that, chances are very high (number of voters for both parties), that they’re lying to both, you, and themselves.
But facts (re-voting them, again, and again, and again) are irrefutable.

Not necessarily copyright (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055676)

It sounds more like Obama is tired of seeing blatant attempts to imply his (or Michelle's) endorsement of practically everything (which is a clearly deceptive practice). I doubt very much that an elementary schooler will get a visit from the secret service if they print one of those photos for a diorama.

This may not be the very best way to accomplish that, but something needed to be done. It's hard to codify that sort of thing perfectly in a simple statement. Say "may not be used for commercial advertisement" and you'll see him appearing to endorse the flat-earthers or PETA. Say not for commercial purposes and the very much commercial news outlets are ticked off.

Re:Not necessarily copyright (3, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055778)

It sounds more like Obama is tired of seeing blatant attempts to imply his (or Michelle's) endorsement of practically everything (which is a clearly deceptive practice). I doubt very much that an elementary schooler will get a visit from the secret service if they print one of those photos for a diorama.

"It sounds more like [The Government] is tired of seeing blatant attempts to [do something stupid] (which is [obviously wrong]). I doubt very much that [people not doing wrong things] will get a visit from the secret service if they [quite innocently violate this excessively far-ranging policy or law]."

Please, everybody, stop posting things that fit this pattern. They have never, ever, been correct before.

Re:Not necessarily copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31056142)

This time, it is 100% correct. Mod parent stupid.

Re:Not necessarily copyright (2, Informative)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055800)

So Obama using an axe instead of a scalpel on an issue that has hurt absolutely no one is OK with you?

I wonder how you're going to feel when he's facing a real crisis and does the same thing.

The bottom line is that this could have been handled better. Maybe not by Obama himself, maybe he would have needed some help but it still could have been handled better. And to be frank, I don't think we've seen the limits of how far this will go. I think there is going to be a backlash from this that is going to reach non-commercial ventures. Just wait and see.

Re:Not necessarily copyright (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056076)

OK, I'm waiting........

Re:Not necessarily copyright (0, Troll)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055868)

Do you think this would have prevented Chia Obama https://www.chiaobama.com/flare/next [chiaobama.com] or Obama Fingers http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,612684,00.html [spiegel.de] ?

Nothing has to be done. In the past, most presidents have simply ignored things like this. Obama has a very thin skin, and this is more evidence. The president should be above such things, and for example should not be responding to talk show personalities either directly or through any staffers. Obama apparently has not been in politics to learn how to deal with criticism properly.

Re:Not necessarily copyright (3, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056012)


Do you think this would have prevented Chia Obama https://www.chiaobama.com/flare/next [chiaobama.com] or Obama Fingers http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,612684,00.html [spiegel.de] ?

No, and it's not supposed to. Neither of the products you linked to had any implication of endorsement by the President, which is what we're actually talking about here.

Re:Not necessarily copyright (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056054)

I do note that your link to the chia figures shows them currently for sale, so I guess he shrugged it off just as you'd have him do. Note that plenty of OTHER PEOPLE have made a big deal about it, but surely you don't claim that Obama should have denied their free speech, do you?

There IS a big difference between that sort of thing and trying to imply that Obama is either personally or in his capacity as President endorsing a product. Failing to clamp down on that would have some nasty legal and political implications.

Re:Not necessarily copyright (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056506)

Note that plenty of OTHER PEOPLE have made a big deal about it, but surely you don't claim that Obama should have denied their free speech, do you?

Of course not. There are very limited reasons where the government can curtail the speech of citizens and that certainly wouldn't qualify

There seems to be a lot of assumption that Obama wants to clamp down on people / companies using these images to prevent using them to make it appear that Obama has endorsed something. Firstly, that does not really fall under copyright laws, that would fall under fraud. Secondly, some time spent searching the net yields no clear cases of this having happened, except for the one mentioned in the summary. For those of you that suggest this is the reason, please provide sources. I do not believe that this is a rampant problem.

Also, as someone else has stated the Whitehouse has three conflicting messages on the use of photos

  1. Creative Commons: http://www.whitehouse.gov/copyright [whitehouse.gov]
  2. Statement on Flickr photo stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4331402906/ [flickr.com]
  3. USA.gov copyright policy: http://www.usa.gov/copyright.shtml [usa.gov]

Numbers 1 and 2 would seem to be in conflict with number 3, which I believe is the proper way.

Re:Not necessarily copyright (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056816)

Besides the one in TFA, there's PETA [google.com] , and a few fairly cheesy commercials I have seen on late night TV here (I have no idea what they're for anymore, I like to defeat the point of commercials that way).

A fair number of other cases going back to before he was even elected are named Here [bloomberg.com] .

Re:Not necessarily copyright (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055974)

I think you're spot on. The article focuses on copyright, which as I understand is not the end-all-be-all for speech (which is what we're really talking about here, not copyright).

Talking about copyright is entirely missing the point. The full statement from the Whitehouse is:

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

(emphasis mine)

If you want to argue about it from a legal perspective, copyright is not the right law to do so (at least if you want to have an honest discussion about it).

The first part I think I disagree with. Why shouldn't I be able to alter the photograph in any way I see fit? The second part seems entirely reasonable to me, and is likely covered by existing laws about endorsement.

Left Something Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055704)

It didn't mention the OBAMA White House. If t his had been BOOSH, his name would have been mentioned 50 times.

So, how is that Hopey Changey thing workin' out for you?

Re:Left Something Out (0, Troll)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056208)

"So, how is that Hopey Changey thing workin' out for you?"

I dunno, Ms. Palin, how's that r-word campaign working out for ya?

Re:Left Something Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31056280)

Pretty well! Got Rahm to apologize publicly... But you do have to wonder when his boss, you know Obama, can't even pronounce "Corpsman" correctly. Maybe Rahm needs to use the "r" word for someone else?

Re:Left Something Out (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056542)

Obama, can't even pronounce "Corpsman" correctly.

The guy was a "corpseman", one of those guys from Monty Python and the Holy Grail who would yell "Bring out yer dead!"

Wouldn't a better idea be... (2, Informative)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055804)

...using Creative Commons like they already are [whitehouse.gov] ? Creative commons already states that on most of their licenses [creativecommons.org] that you can't use whatever is licensed in a way that makes it seem like the copyright holder (in this case, the US government) endorse you or your derivative work (without permission, of course, like if Obama officially said that he approved of something). I mean, really, there's WAY more than only two choices, and Creative Commons just makes sense to use.

Re:Wouldn't a better idea be... (2, Insightful)

dsoltesz (563978) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055844)

As mentioned elsewhere, federal government works cannot be copyrighted, period.

Re:Wouldn't a better idea be... (1)

JNSL (1472357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056150)

While federal government works cannot be copyrighted, they can acquire copyrights, and use independent contractors who retain copyright. That said, copyright isn't the issue here. The issue is using Obama's likeness without his permission.

tag please (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31055808)

Not change.

Government is a joke, so why do people want more? (2, Insightful)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055832)

How can Obama continue to claim that he is going to run a "transparent" government?

... when his own white house staff wants to restrict photos that by law cannot be copyrighted?

... how TARP money that has been paid back by big banks is now going to be lent out to smaller banks. It basically means if the US taxpayer is paid back that money will be lent to somebody else, until the entity getting money fails to pay money back, i.e. we ensure we waste 700 billion dollars.

... how recovery.gov has tons of mistakes and hasn't been updated in months.

... how he pretends he is open by recording White House visitors, but he conveniently leaves out lobbyists he meets with outside of White House.

... how he promised not to hirer lobbyists, still insists he hasn't hired lobbyists, yet has 40 lobbyist on staff (they aren't counted as he gave them a special "waiver").

Honestly I hate how much the President lies and how he gets a pass, merely because Bush sucked. I agree Bush had a ton of problems, but it makes no sense to give Obama a pass on his problems. Obama sucks also, just in different ways.

Public Domain Software (2, Informative)

Katchu (1036242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055854)

Also, software created by U.S. government employees cannot be copyrighted. You can ask for source code, but that may involve an Electronic Freedom of Information Act (EFOIA) request, and you'd have to pay for the cost of providing you that information (considerably less than the cost of the software source code if you developed it). Unfortunately most software now developed for U.S. government is written by contractors (not U.S. government employees), and most contractors retain all rights to that software even though it was paid for 100% by government money. This makes it less costly for the government to produce software.

Good thing about bloggers (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055878)

It's a good thing that "news organizations" is now defined as individual people on the Internet.

Re:Good thing about bloggers (1)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31055912)

Citation?

The policy's intent is to preserve the incentive (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056112)

If the government doesn't grant itself exclusive rights to photos produced by federal employees as part of their job responsibilities, then what incentive will the government or its employees have, to produce photos as part of their job responsibilities?! They need exclusive rights in order to recoup their investment without competing with knockoffs.

Re:The policy's intent is to preserve the incentiv (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056246)

If the government doesn't grant itself exclusive rights to photos produced by federal employees as part of their job responsibilities, then what incentive will the government or its employees have, to produce photos as part of their job responsibilities?! They need exclusive rights in order to recoup their investment without competing with knockoffs.

I sincerely hope you're going for ironical subtle humor, because the government's incentive to publish photos is... to publish photos. They were _Asking_ for them to be used in things other than the Flicker pages.

Re:The policy's intent is to preserve the incentiv (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31056814)

> I sincerely hope you're going for ironical subtle humor...

Doesn't seem subtle to me.

The statement says nothing of the kind (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31056382)

Read the flicker statement. There's no full copyright, only a 'don't use this image for commercial gain' - which is standard. Usual political BS from an obvious republican shill. Pathetic that no-one on /. fact checked for a second, instead of regurgitating the BS.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>