Gov. Hutchinson Vetoes Publicity Rights Bill

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) – Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a publicity rights bill on Tuesday (March 31) that aimed to protect the names, voices, signatures and photographs of Arkansas citizens from exploitation and unauthorized commercial use, officials say.

The bill, SB 79, passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 80-6 and the Senate with a vote of 25-3, according to legislative records. The bill was sent to Hutchinson on March 25 at 10:43 a.m.

SB 79 was filed by Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, and cosponsored by Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, legislative records state.

Hutchinson said he believed the bill “as drafted would extend protection beyond the stated intent of the bill and unnecessarily restrict free expression and may result in unnecessary litigation in Arkansas.”

He released the following statement on the veto of SB 79:

“In its current form, the bill unnecessarily restricts free expression and thus could have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. In addition, SB79 exempts certain types of noncommercial speech while failing to exempt other forms of noncommercial speech. The absence of these exemptions could result in unnecessary litigation and suppress Arkansans who engage in artistic expression.”


  • ssweetemotionss

    I think this is a HUGE mistake. This is a real slap in the face to photographers. How in the world is a person who makes a living in the photographic industry, suppose to go around and get a release from everyone? Ridiculous. It’s not about privacy, or personal rights, it’s about the ability to document history, (as an example). Isn’t the news allowed fair use? Does that not apply to individuals? The bill is not specify enough. It can be twisted to suit those who want to break it. What about billboards that have people in them? How in the world would anyone find those people and get a release? Come on. Get real. I think this bill should be shot down. Unbelievable. What next? We can’t look at one another? Gheeezzzzz!!!

  • Cave Man

    easily solved. all you have to do is alter the photo a little and the voices, hence not the original person. i can see the first case going to the supreme court. some one suing because the photo is not altered enough. what if i added one grey hair or lightened the skin color a bit. is that the same person or not? i can see in court matching up the color to the skin of the person, or how about i alter the voice just enough that is would sound the same but show up different on a scope. funny as hell. i thought people had no expectation of privacy nin public anyway.

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