Gov. Hutchinson vetoes publicity rights bill

Gov. Hutchinson vetoes publicity rights bill

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Professional and amateur photographers all across Arkansas can breathe a sigh of relief.

On Tuesday, Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed Senate Bill 79.

The governor said the bill, in its current form, "unnecessarily restricts free expression and thus could have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of the press."

The bill's sponsor, Senator Jon Woods of Springdale, said it was in response to people profiting from using the image of former University of Arkansas football coach Frank Broyles.

SB79 included a "fair use" clause allowing names, voices, signatures and photographs to be used in news, public affairs and sports broadcasts.

While the bill's intent was to protect Arkansans from unauthorized "commercial speech," Hutchinson said the wording "too broad and vague."

"SB79 exempts certain types of noncommercial speech while failing to exempt other forms of noncommercial speech," Hutchinson said. "The absence of these exemptions could result in unnecessary litigation and suppress Arkansans who engage in artistic expression."

He concluded by saying the bill "invites unnecessary litigation in Arkansas courts" and would subject photographers in the state to "substantial financial burdens in the conduct of their small businesses around the state."

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