Matt Salinger, son of Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger, is dismayed by the veto of a New Hampshire bill that would have given him the right to maintain his famously reclusive late father’s privacy, the Associated Press reports.
Salinger worked with lawmakers for the past two years to get the bill — which would have stated that the rights to control the commercial use of a person’s image and identity is inheritable — past the House and Senate. “I’m stunned and just hugely disappointed that Gov. (John) Lynch saw fit to veto something that was the result of thousands of hours of well-intentioned, diligent, bipartisan work,” he told the AP.
His father’s likeness has appeared on T-shirts, coffee mugs, pencils, and other merchandise. “He wanted his privacy,” explained Matt Salinger. “It wasn’t based on vanity. It was a very principled approach. He believed that nothing should stand in between the reader of a work of fiction and the fictional characters.”
Governor Lynch cited First Amendment rights in striking down the bill. “The protections for free speech that are guaranteed to all citizens under the state and federal constitutions are central to democracy and a free society. Legislation that could have the impact of restricting free speech must be carefully considered and narrowly tailored,” he said. “I believe that the omission of legitimate, clear exceptions for news and expressive works will inhibit constitutionally protected speech and result in needless litigation to judicially establish what should have been made explicit in this bill.”
The New Hampshire Senate will review the veto on June 27.