Sounds almost ordinary enough at first — this tweet from @EFF:
Another Obama image fair use controversy: http://bit.ly/vhWCk
Oh, sure. Another vhWCk?! What are you, stoned?
Whoah, no. Much better! No, no, no.
It was only a matter of time before someone combined a certain memorable image of a young future president with a jokey twist on his campaign slogan … to come up with a message that Barack Obama definitely did not approve. The folks at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws got there first. For their annual conference poster, they took an old photo of cool-dude college freshman Obama puffing away — on a regular cigarette, mind you — and tweaked it just ever so slightly to fit their message: “Yes We Cannabis.”
Think it might be a problem for the president (who opposes legalization)? It’s really a problem for the photographer. Lisa Jack, an Obama classmate at Occidental College, snapped the image in 1980, one in a series of photos that never saw the light of day until she debuted them in Time’s 2008 Person of the Year issue. She had no idea her photo had been appropriated by NORML until we told her Tuesday.
And… is it really a problem for NORML? Maybe. A copyright lawsuit could bankrupt them, so yeah, dude, bummerrrrr.
But the ten minutes of news interest in an organization you haven’t heard of since Sister Mary Elephant hung up her habit? Priceless!
HIGHER UPDATE: Randazza with riffs on the spliffs.