Epic Fail: Flickr censors Obama Joker image

Flickr has followed up on its less than stellar form on free speech by censoring a doctored image of the now infamous “Obama Joker” image on the cover of Time Magazine.

According to Thomas Hawk, the image on Flickr received over 20,000 page views until Flickr pulled the image down citing “copyright-infringement concerns” due to the use of the Time Magazine trademark in the image.

I’m not personally a fan of the image, and although I’ve not personally commented on it before, The Inquisitr has covered it, and I don’t necessarily disagree with what has been posted here. But my personal views are irrelevant to the case: love it or hate it, the image, even in the doctored Time Magazine form, constitutes a derivative work, and is legal. It may also constitute a parody work as well.

That conclusion isn’t a matter of interpretation either, because the law is clear. From Wikipedia:

For copyright protection to attach to [a derivative work]…. it must display some originality of its own. It cannot be a rote, uncreative variation on the earlier, underlying work. The latter work must contain sufficient new expression, over and above that embodied in the earlier work for the latter work to satisfy copyright law’s requirement of originality.

That I don’t agree with the image doesn’t mean I agree with the decision to pull it. The price of free speech is to defend the speech you don’t like, and hence Flickr should be condemned for yet another stupid decision on copyright, one that on the face of it they’ve made even without receiving a claim from Time Magazine.