In a sort of Catch 22 we are hearing more about the issue of when is a President not the President, apparently this issue can be answered by saying when he appears in a comicbook. You see, Current U.S. President Barack Obama has appeared in so many comics over the past several months that it appears that the various publishing companies may very well be infringing on his privacy.
At least that is the way a story on Newsarama is saying.
With all of these appearances, one might assume that the most popular President in a generation is something akin to “public property” and anyone can use his likeness or even him in any story as they see fit, just as they would set a scene near the Lincoln Memorial. That’s not quite the case.
Yep, everybody loves the President and everybody want’s to put the Pres in their funnybook, hoping to get Spider-Man 513 numbers for their book.
Currently, there is no uniform Federal standard that governs an individual’s right to publicity – publicity rights are governed by state law, with the First Amendment placing a limit on how far the laws can go. According to Newsarama’s legal analyst (and Blogger) Jeff Trexler, Wilson Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University, state and case law generally recognize a public affairs exception, that is, an image that is clearly a comment on a public figure or official (such as an editorial cartoon, a parody or a satire) will be protected. The amount of protection the representation enjoys tends to decrease with the increasing commercial use of the image.
Then, according to a quote by Editor-in Chief Joe Quesada, that dark-skinned man man in the grey flannel suit appearing in Marvel Comics may not be the the President after all...
[T]he character wasn’t intended to be President Obama and merely representative of the current president in the Marvel Universe, not necessarily Obama himself.
As it turns out nothing can be funnier than the truth itself.