Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another Obama right-of-publicity violation; NY Times gets results!

Looks like President Obama doesn't need the White House Counsel's Office to take action against commercial enterprises that use his likeness to sell products. He's got the NY Times!

According to the Times, an online education site called, to "reinforce the idea that a federal windfall might be a click away, ...featured three people in mortarboards flanked by a photograph of President Obama" in online ads.

But when a Times reporter called to ask whether the site had Obama's permission, the site quickly folded:
"We had initially believed we were authorized to use that picture," Andrew Jensen, the marketing director of One on One [the site's parent company], said in an e-mail message. "After researching it further, we have found we were not, and are in the process of taking it off the landing page you saw. This is something that slipped through the cracks."
If only all IP enforcement were this easy...


  1. I think there will just be more unauthorized commerical uses of Obama's image because they're getting free publicity from the controversy, such as this blog.

  2. Unauthorized use of the president's image? There will always be use of his/her image as long as this country exist and satirists and opportunists exist. I think greater infringements occur in the private sector, like this one from a blog I read:

  3. I have attempted to get permission from President Obama to use an AP image of him bodysurfing, for which I have gotten permission from AP, in a timeline of the history of black surfing for the California African American museum, and can not even get an email back indicating do not use it. I wish the White House would make it easier for people to ask for and obtain permissions.


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.