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Anti-War T-Shirt Prompts Law that Schwarzenegger Signs

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Detail of the T-Shirt in Question


Detail of the T-Shirt in Question
A famous celebrity's name is protected for 70 years after death. That's because a "deceased personality," as state law calls them, has commercial value, thus the use of their voice, signature, photograph, or likeness in products and advertising is verboten unless permission by the family is given. Those laws don't apply to regular people, even if their death made them famous -- the law only applied to those who had notoriety before death, not because of or after death.That changed today. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 585 into law. Prompted by the use of fallen soldiers names by anti-war groups on T-shirts, posters and buttons, Republican Assemblyemember Paul Cook pushed through legislation protecting everyone's names.

"I believe this bill is an important protection that should be provided to our fallen service members and their families," he told the The Desert Sun. "Having served in the Marine Corps for 26 years, I understand the commitment that our service members undertake when they perform their duties. I believe that this bill will provide them and their families the respect they deserve when they make the ultimate sacrifice. We should respect the legacy of our service members."

But the bill has some wondering about the free speech aspects. Apparently, the t-shirt (pictured here) prompted the bill. It lists "4,058 dead troops as a backdrop to blood-red print reading 'Bush Lied' on the front and 'They Died' on the back" according to a 2009 Sacramento Bee article, now taken off its website, but posted to a forum chat board. The T-shirt maker has already won a federal injunction in Arizona where a similar law was enacted.