Governor Asa Hutchinson has vetoed SB-79, a bill that would have made it possible to sue photographers for not having releases signed that are not required anywhere else. The definitions of “Fair Use” were vague and broad, and the resulting litigation would not have been in the public interest.
Governor Hutchinson did the right thing by vetoing the bill and he should be commended for the action he took on it. An effort to override the veto did not get enough votes. A second override attempt is unlikely. Nonetheless, it shows that photographers – often regarded as innocuous – are sometimes in the aim of law makers and regulators. It means photographers must have strong coalitions across associations, and monitor pending bills such as this. It also means we need to start an intelligent conversation that represents our interests with government and its agencies, and the public as well.
Here are links to ASMP’s and Governor Hutchinson’s response: