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An Ovation for New Hampshire Governor Lynch’s Veto

Yesterday, New Hampshire Governor Lynch vetoed SB 175 and pulled the state back from creating a law that is so broadly written that it threatened to undermine a number of currently legal, popular, and valuable services.

But it’s not over yet as the Senate could ignore the Governor’s lead and instead vote to override the veto.

SB 175 was written, in part, because the heir to the estate of New Hampshire resident JD Salinger complained that he was not contacted before his dad’s likeness appeared on coffee mugs and t-shirts.  Riding on this understanding of the bill, SB 175 passed the legislature despite warnings of the unintended harms it would bring to New Hampshire’s online businesses.

Fortunately, Governor Lynch saw past the rhetoric, understood the harm to New Hampsire citizens, and vetoed the bill.

As part of his veto the Governor stated,

“I believe that this legislation is overly broad, would potentially have a chilling effect on legitimate journalistic and expressive works that are protected by the New Hampshire and United States constitutions.”

As we wrote in the Nashua Telegraph, without the veto, SB 175 could make even educational and artistic uses of a famous Granite Stater’s name illegal unless you got their permission.

If passed, SB 175 could require a book review website that discussed Catcher in Rye to remove any mention of its author, JD Salinger.

Or a website that shows an ad for the “George Foreman Grill,” might only be able to advertise it as “George ____ Grill.”

Without Governor Lynch’s veto, book and movie review websites would be under attack from heirs to celebrities’ estates.  Likewise, newspapers might need to gut most of their “Style” sections, and magazines showing pictures of celebrities (such as People and US Weekly) might need to increase their prices to cover new legal expenses.

We thank the Governor for seeing this bill for what it is, the harm it would bring New Hampshire, and using his veto power to stop it.

But the state is still in danger if too few Senators see the light as the Governor’s veto can fall victim to an override (2/3 of senators can vote to override the Governor’s veto).

To prevent this from happening, let’s ask New Hampshire senators to follow the Governor’s lead to stop this bad bill from becoming law.