Saturday, January 31, 2009

White House Plans First Assult on Free Speech

Financial news service reported Saturday that White House lawyers seek to control the use of the president’s image, recognizing the worldwide interest about Obama’s election, First Amendment free-speech rights and easy access to videos and photos on the Web.

“Our lawyers are working on developing a policy that will protect the presidential image while being careful not to squelch the overwhelming enthusiasm that the public has for the president,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

White House lawyers may have to make case-by-case determinations about the best ways to protect the presidential image without tempering enthusiasm or trampling on free-speech protections, said Jonathan Band, an intellectual property lawyer in Washington.

Typically, imagery and text produced at taxpayer expense by the government is considered in the public domain for press and non-commercial uses.

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