Flickr Censors Political Image Critical of President Obama

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    "Flickr had removed the Joker image due to copyright-infringement concerns, Alkhateeb says the company told him in an e-mail. A Flickr spokeswoman declined to comment due to a company policy that bars discussing inquiries about individual users."

    There's an interesting piece over at the Los Angeles Times today about the unmasking of the author of the iconic Obama/Joker photo (above). The photo recently began turning up in Los Angeles with the word "socialism" printed underneath it in similar style to the famous Shepard Fairey Obama HOPE poster and since then has been the subject of considerable debate and online interest.

    It turns about that, according to the Times, a 20-year-old college student from Chicago, Firas Alkhateeb, is the artist behind the work. Apparently Alkhateeb made the image using Adobe's Photoshop software.

    After creating the image Alkhateeb posted it to his Flickr account and ended up getting over 20,000 views on it. 20,000 views that is until Flickr pulled the image down censoring him, along with everyone who commented on the image, citing "copyright-infringement concerns," according to the Times.

    Personally I think it's too bad that Flickr decided to censor this iconic image. Whatever you may or may not think about this image and it's appropriateness, the image would absolutely and unequivocally be considered parody and parody has always been one of the most effective defenses against any copyright complaint. Parody is why Weird Al gets away with creating a song called "Eat It," directly to the tune of Michael Jackson's "Beat It."

    What's more, in the interest of free speech, political parody *especially* is perhaps given the widest berth of all. This is why Ralph Nader was able to directly rip MasterCard's "Priceless" campaign and why the courts subsequently ruled in his favor after MasterCard sued him over it. Earlier today, a friend and Flickr contact of mine from DMU, A Boy and His Prime, who is a law student, put it more directly. "If you produce something that is transformative, and not derivative, then it's fair use (Folsom v Marsh). In Campbell v Acuff-Rose, 510 U.S. 569, Souter seemed to suggest that the main idea is substitutability, and that makes a lot of sense when you consider what copyright protects (i.e. your interest in your own work). The Jokerbama does not replace the original photo in any sense." I'm not a lawyer myself of course and would be interested if anyone else out there who is would like to add comment as well.

    Personally, I think it's unfortunate that Flickr would embark upon yet another act of censorship when an image was so clearly parody and fair use. What bothers me even more is that this is still another example of Flickr censoring users who are critical of President Obama and his policies. In June Flickr deleted the entire account and photostream of Flickr user Shepherd Johnson after he posted comments critical of the President on the Official White House Photostream. Now I'm actually a Democrat who voted for President Obama and am super happy to see the President using Flickr. But while Flickr's staff is obviously proud of the fact that they have President Obama's official photostream on Flickr, I don't think that this fact ought to be the impetuous for them to censor and delete users who are critical of the President.

    I'm also troubled by this censorship in light of the clear pro-Obama bias that Flickr's staff has shown. If you do a search for the word "Obama" on the flickr blog you get 74 different results, many of them very positive. By contrast a search for "Bush" on the Flickr blog only pulls up 5 results (even though Flickr has existed much longer under President Bush's presidency than President Obama's).

    Now I have no trouble or problem with anyone on Flickr staff or anyone at Yahoo personally supporting whatever candidate they want. Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz personally contributed to both Bush and McCain and currently serves as a finance co-chair for Republican Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's finance committe. But I think when personal politics begin to take on a bigger role in corporate communications and especially when it begins resulting in politically motivated censorship that things have gone too far in the wrong direction. I hope that Yahoo does in fact consider it a mistake in hindsight to have deleted this clear fair use image critical of the President and that they take steps to ensure that this sort of politically motivated censorship by Flickr Staff is curtailed in the future.

    I've contacted Alkhateeb about his image deletion and will hopefully be able to report back with more directly from him when I hear back from him.

    I've also posted the exact same image that Flickr deleted to my own photostream. Let's see if Flickr decides to censor me as well.

    fotowosch, ojbyrne, and 95 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. mmillerstudio 46 months ago | reply

      It hard to stop laughing at that!! How true you are "editor".

      Something was brought up the other day about Bush's Addmin. and why he had a down fall.

      One he was advised by dumbocrats and second the dumbocrats controlled congress his last two years. He should have stood up to them and said Fuck Off.

      Now this is really ease to understand if someone has the right information and not CNN's bull. Editor your are seirously informed well. I wish more americans knew what you do. Who can say bama is the man? Who can say he has done good for the USA? Who can say the dumbocrats are helping American people? American is starting to realize but it will take some ballsy congress people to take these assholes out and impeach them and throw them in JAIL!!!! That where they belong!

    2. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      poor arty shoots up too much heroin to understand the news is biased leftard bullshit. his statements make him look like the jackoff he is... his entire post was liberal spin, spin, spin... the moron has no idea what the fuck he's talking about and has no clue what america is about and what the constitution means to this country if followed and not violated. this limey bastard makes the most retarded comments on this page. he needs to hit himself with a "hot shot" and do the world a favor. his che worshipping commie ass needs to stfu and pay attention to his own countries problems and his lame ass numb skull bush bashing just goes to show what a mindless media puppet he is.

    3. torbakhopper 46 months ago | reply

      gosh, and here i thought "news" was a corporate tactic to destroy all national identities. damn, it's just some lame, "democratic" bullshit? i'm going to go cry now

      @ editors desk: dig your self portraits. cool stuff, man!

    4. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      self portraits? hmmm...

    5. inetjoker 46 months ago | reply

      From someone who lived in the new war zone.
      Mister Obama I think your lawsuit against Arizona is going to hit a sour reception.

      www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/07/07/larry-gatlin-arizona-c...

    6. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      the empty suit does not care he is here to divide, to agitate, to separate and to cause confusion... he is here to usurp our nation. he is here to appease our enemies, he is here to cut us down to size, to re-distribute our wealth and world standing... he is here to destroy our jobs, our economy, to ruin our credit, to destroy our debt with trillions of stolen tax payers dollars wasted and given to ungrateful wretches... he is here to kill capitalism, to give nasa to the muslims, to take gm and to own the housing market, to ruin automobiles and big oil, to use whatever means needed to overwhelm our way of fighting back... to disrespect our military and to bow down like a bitch to foreign nations, to allow the un to tell us what to do, to let millions of illegal aliens to usurp our nation and it's services as well as kill our people.

      viva los sb 1070!!! buycott arizona!

    7. (deaf mute) 46 months ago | reply

      editors_desk Why would Obama want to do any of those things? Surely he wants to be popular and go down in history as a great leader. If he was really trying to destroy your country, he wouldn't have the backing of so many powerful people. Get a grip.

    8. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      shouldn't you be worshiping karl marx instead of baiting a discussion about a subject you have no clue about? dumbass... go overdose on something would you and do the world a favor.

    9. (deaf mute) 46 months ago | reply

      editors_desk Classy, Edward, very classy. Almost as classy as your conviction for harassment and stalking. Have you left any more threatening phone calls lately?

    10. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      no such thing exists liar and you know it. i have no such conviction on my record and you also know that liar... keep playing games. we all know that is false info posted by a faggot who has nothing better to do then to pretend online... coward. i am still a free man, still free to post online because none of it is real. you know that too. nice try queer.

    11. (deaf mute) 46 months ago | reply

      editors_desk I've heard the phone call, you idiot. Threatening phone calls are precisely the sort of thing I'd expect from a serial troll that is not only banned from Wikipedia, but leaves comments like "I know where you live" on my stream.
      --
      Seen in my recent comments. (?)

    12. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      not me, not my voice. do you also believe everything you read? and see online, and every rumor too? and how do you know what my voice sounds like? where is this recording? if it's on the other anti-american commie web site revtyler you are being misled... which seems pretty easy to do seeing as you're so stupid and will blindly follow like the sheep you are. you've been duped dumb ass and rock n rev fag has nothing to do with wiki or my obama joker artwork... which he has attached himself to because he's not talented to do anything like it himself. fool.

    13. (deaf mute) 46 months ago | reply

      editors_desk I also read that it was you that filed the DMCA takedown notice (a legal document) about the Jokerbama image, in which you certified you were the intellectual property owner, when we all know you aren't. Should I not believe that information too, or was I "duped" by the likes of Thomas Hawk who revealed it? You are a proven liar, Edward, and your lies are rapidly catching up with you.

    14. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      of coarse a coward would side with the terrorists rather then the victims... you are showing what a pure coward you are with each post, not to mention you believe anything you decide to, like a child... i don't care what you think. i have my proof and it is all i need and you keep thinking you are outing me but all your assumptions are on way old news... stuff no one cares about. i live rent free in skulls full of mush like yours and the folks who spread disinformation only help to sell whatever it is i'm selling at the moment so i thank all of you for the free publicity... since that fake blog was put up, i've sold many more cd's, more of my artwork and my jewelry. good job. since i am a "fugitive from justice" my harley customizing has also picked up... like i said the more i live rent free in empty skulls like yours, is good for me as it spells... $$$. thanx. believe what you want just keep talking. i've made thousands off the obama joker and will make even more! ;) have a nice day.

    15. (deaf mute) 46 months ago | reply

      I don't care how much money you've made, Edward. But admitting in public that you've made money from someone else's intellectual property is a little on the stupid side. You might as well have said "Yes, I am a criminal". The Google record will show exactly what kind of deluded nutter you are.

    16. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      listen retard... i am not afraid of anything. you sure need mental help. i could care less about google, i will continue to sell all the artworks i've created... you come stop me. i've got the socialism, fascism, marxism versions of the obama joker for sale. i have a right to sell them because i created them... and printing costs get covered this way. besides i am allowed to use it for parody, political purposes. time warner isn't interested because it's modified 3% which copyright law says i am in the clear. besides every tea party member knows me and knows where to get my art. you're just jealous... and as far as that plagiarizing alkhateeb i'm not worried he has been exposed as the fraud he is. we all know you're the KING NUTTER just by reading your posts... player hater is all you are. you wish you had proof i did not design the socialism poster but the facts are i did create it... i posted them all over los angeles and i made the first fox news video intro... eat your heart out loser... sometimes the truth hurts. ;)

    17. mmillerstudio 46 months ago | reply

      O thats to cool editor!!!! You know that if some jerk off liberal made a poster of a conservitive there would be no problem. But because it is of the dictator bama its a problem. Matter of fact I am going to purchase a poster as soon as I find one. I wish you could autograph one for me. Thanks you for creating the art!!

    18. editors_desk 46 months ago | reply

      mmillerstudio... thank you very much. never mind arty smokes fidel castro. he lives on his knees... his knee pads must be pretty worn. you should know when arty talks... well it smells of man chowder and communistic/marxist tripe. his gullet is filled with the fascist dna of the memory of che and heroin abuse. my grandfather explained to me what fascism is at a very early age, he explained to me why he and my grandmother fought in world war two. to crush tyranny. he explained to me that progressive revisionism is code for "liberal"... check out the facts, i've included the info's here and i've also exposed the lying progressive muslim who is trying to claim my art;

      obamajokerfacts.blogspot.com/

      firasalkhateeb.blogspot.com/

      artistsagainstobama.blogspot.com/

      socialistfascism.blogspot.com/

      przydzialobamajoker.blogspot.com/

      enjoy!

    19. ninmushu 36 months ago | reply

      Hahaha! That is nice! I wish i had a shirt with this on it! Id wear it everywhere!

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