Public Outcry Leads Minnesota Politician To Drop Terrible Idea For The PRINCE Act

from the good-news dept

Last week, we wrote about a terrible idea from Minnesota politician Joe Hoppe, for the PRINCE Act (Personal Rights in Names Can Endure Act), which was a massively broad publicity rights law, clearly designed to capitalize on Prince's recent death. In fact, as we noted, the bill could be read to violate itself, since the whole point was to block people from exploiting the likeness or name of a famous person like Prince for various purposes, including commercial purposes and fundraising. Hoppe, apparently missing the irony entirely, had no problem saying that he was pushing the bill to exploit Prince's death.
“I’ve had people say, `Is it just prompted by the death of Prince?’ Yeah, essentially it is. Really, what it’s doing is it’s attempting to recognize the right of publicity postmortem,” Hoppe said.
Thankfully, lots of people spoke out against the bill -- including many in Minnesota itself, pointing out how the law would stifle free speech for no good reason.

Apparently surprised by the unexpected backlash to his attempt to exploit Prince's death by stopping others from exploiting Prince's death, Hoppe has now announced that the bill is being set aside for the rest of this legislative session -- but may come back in the future. Hopefully, if it does, Hoppe will have taken some time to understand just how problematic broad publicity rights laws can be.

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  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 3:58pm

    Step outside

    Apparently surprised by the unexpected backlash


    I'm am often surprised by the weird fact that when politicians discover "unexpected backlash" to some piece of legislation, they never seem to ask themselves how they got so out of touch with the people they theoretically represent and come up with some way to fix it.

    I know that I shouldn't be surprised by this, but there we are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 4:09pm

      Re: Step outside

      I am not surprised at all. As citizens we have helped create this disaster by essentially worshiping out leaders and idols.

      Prince provided entertainment, but he got far more respect and benefits in life than most firefighters, police, soldiers, & other emergency personnel that risk life and limb to save others.

      Heaven will be stocked with a bunch of nobodies you never knew, but you will recognize a lot of names on Hell's Roster.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        DoubleWhumpus, 19 May 2016 @ 7:38pm

        Re: Re: Step outside

        Not to take away from your point, which is correct.

        But sometimes we need to be reminded that "garbageman" is a far more dangerous job than "policeman". As are truck driver, farmer, roofer, construction laborer, commercial fisherman, logger, etc. I think we never hear it for the garbageman because it isn't a romantic or exciting job, and nobody makes TV series about garbagemen.

        This particular politician has the district where Prince's studio was, and I expect he was looking for something feelgood for people to remember him by come November, rather than the appalling crap he's done otherwise. He's best known for... well, nothing, really, aside from having participated in the 2011 Governor's Fishing Opener and having a dark red district where he can keep getting re-elected.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 5:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Step outside

          Your points are definitely worth adding!

          Sure entertainment is nice and helps keep people happy, but it does not provide for society nearly as much as the people you mentioned yet they get no praise and are often belittled for the work they do.

          "You pump gas?... get a REAL job you worthless schmuck!!!"

          People need to understand, an honest dollar is better than a dishonest million. Though I clearly suspect that I am in the minority on that one!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 5:04am

        Re: Re: Step outside

        I do not recall worshiping leaders or idols, guess I did not help create this mess as you claim - but everyone who did create it wants me to help "fix" it.

        Respect and benefits are subjective. Whether you have a roof over your head and something to eat is quite different. So many of our esteemed "leaders" do not understand this and/or do not give a shit. Many emergency personnel are taken advantage of and are not provided sufficient "respect and benefits" but I question your blaming of common folk for this as they are afforded little to no input on these matters.

        Seems those in positions of power and influence are to blame, citizens do not elect who is given influence and the right to vote is not distributed evenly, so again - blaming the citizens for their own miserable conditions is a bit naive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 6:01am

          Re: Re: Re: Step outside

          Yea, if you are feeling guilty by that remark then you are more likely to be guilty.

          If you ever voted for either of the parties, or shirked jury duty, or every joined the public bandwagon in praise or condemnation for people or events that you in all reality know a lot less about than you think, then you are certainly a part of this problem.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 6:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Step outside

            You saw guilt in that reply? (eye roll)

            Yea, if you are avoiding the point made, then you are likely one of those pointed out as being culpable.

            All encompassing generalizations are fun and exciting, do join in the ruckus.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 7:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Step outside

              WE ARE ALL GUILTY IN SOME FORM OR FASHION! Sure I admit I have not helped the problem sometimes, but I am starting to recognize that and make changes, and trying to help others see it too.

              Just pointing out those claiming they are not guilty are usually the most guilty. And those most pissed about being blamed are usually the biggest liars of them all.

              I have personal experience with assholes like that. You can have photographic evidence of their lies and they only get more angry about it and still deny the truth. Perhaps they need counseling rather than getting butt hurt over the truth on the internet?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 11:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Step outside

                Yeah - because everyone is the same.
                See .. aren't ridiculous generalizations fun and exciting?

                And gotta love that everyone is guilty trope, sounds like one of those fire and brimstone preacher dudes flinging spittle all over the pulpit while the congregation eye rolls in exhaustion.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 6:58am

        Re: Re: Step outside

        Indeed, I agree with all of that. Our nation has always had this weird issue where we tend to reward the least important people with adulation and money while treating the most important like dirt.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 8:07pm

    Of course..

    ...if the bill had passed, we would have had to ask for permission to mention Joe Hoppe. I would have encouraged everyone to never mention or acknowledge the name again, in his honor. Ironic, opportunity, lost.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    annonymouse, 19 May 2016 @ 8:55pm

    Well if it did pass then the the right to use of the name prince in any form would revert to the house of Windsor. Charles would most likely chuckle appropriately.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CharlesGrossman (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 6:21am

    Great to see MPAA and Techdirt on the same side

    Surprising to see the MPAA's take on this, in the StarTribune article linked within the post: "Even after senators curtailed the proposal's reach, objections remained among some powerful interests. Elizabeth Mottur, a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America, said it could expose filmmakers to lawsuits if they portray historical characters or even use historical footage in movies. She used 'Forrest Gump' as an example. 'You can say, yes, that movies are protected by the First Amendment,' Mottur said. 'Yes, but now the burden is being shifted to the company to go to court and fight the charge and prove their First Amendment right.'"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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