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Flickr hit with copyright infringement over Obama-Joker image

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Satire is protected by the Constitution -- just ask Larry Flynt or Jerry Falwell -- but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily home free when it comes to the legal system.

Our friends at The Times’ Technology blog are reporting that Flickr recently removed the infamous images of President Obama in Joker face from its site after receiving a notice of infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA.

Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo, declined to identify who issued the warning. The satirical image in question was created by a Chicago student named Firas Alkhateeb, who altered a cover photograph of Obama that had appeared on Time magazine.

A representative for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization, told the Tech blog that Alkhateeb has a legitimate fair-use argument for the image. Alkhateeb is reportedly planning to file a counterclaim.

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If all of this sounds vaguely familiar, you’re not experiencing a weird form of deja vu. Something like this did happen recently. Just ask Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press.

-- David Ng

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