According to Bloomberg.com, President Obama has directed White House attorneys to construct a plan to prevent the unauthorized usage of his image. Such a plan could encounter difficulties under a First Amendment analysis, as public figures receive less protection of their privacy and images.
The plan could also prove difficult from a cultural standpoint. Obama ran his campaign as the tech-savvy candidate. He made tremendous usage of the Internet to raise money and to spread his name and image around the world. Youthful supporters from Wil.I.Am. to Obama Girl invoked his name and image to his (and their own) benefit. Now, as president, Obama delivers weekly Youtube addresses, has reworked WhiteHouse.Gov to fit his own style, and apparently cannot relinquish possession of his Blackberry, despite the possibility that the public might have the right to access his communications.
The print and broadcast media have shamelessly marketed Obama. Virtually every magazine has displayed him or some other person of his immediate family on their covers multiple times. And many of the major newspapers sold "special" inaugural editions to rake in the dough (no - they were not being sentimental).
Big industry does not have a monopoly over Obamericalism. Local and independent vendors have marketed Obama t-shirts, posters, and other products.
With so many Obama-related products already available for public consumption and with Obama marketing himself as a global icon, White House lawyers will likely have a difficult time reining in the unauthorized usage of the president's likeness, even if they can devise a constitutional plan. And given the extent to which the proliferation of Obama's image helped his candidacy, the proposal to control its use seems inconsistent with past practice.
Question: After Obama authorized the DNC to put his smiling face on "commemorative coffee mugs" in order to raise money, why stop now?