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According to the Evening Standard and IBTimes, a satirical nude portrait of Trump has been banned in the US.

Is this true, and has Trump given a formal statement on his views on Freedom of Speech?

Note From my European perspective, this appears to be simple satire, something any politician should take as a part of their job. However, going by the comments, it appears that Americans take their politicians far more seriously that their European counterparts, and that the picture isn't seen in the same light. For reference, a comparison of attitudes towards political satire is here.

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    Could the close voter please explain what is unclear about 'Is this true, and has Trump given a formal statement on his views on Freedom of Speech?' – Phil Lello Apr 7 '16 at 14:22
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – user4012 Apr 7 '16 at 15:51
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    Does Trump have a fully detailed and consistent position about anything, let alone free speech? – Andrew Grimm Apr 8 '16 at 22:20
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No, it isn't true.

The unflattering portrait of Donald Trump is not banned in the USA. Satire is protected in the U.S.. This portrait, or reproductions of it, are fully protected free speech. What is not protected, is profiting off the likeness of an individual. No federal law protects the Right to Publicity, but some states do.

Donald Trump could sue in New York State, because NY specifically protects people's likeness from being used unauthorized in commercial works. It specifically has an exception for fine art, which this portrait might qualify as. If the artist wasn't trying to sell the painting, or if they released it to the public domain as in Dastar Corp v. Twentieth Century Fox, Trump would have no civil recourse.

Donald Trump's campaign website doesn't have an official position on the Freedom of Speech or the First Amendment. He has made several public statements though. In an interview (4:38 mark), he disagreed with SCOTUS's Citizens United v. FEC decision.

"I guess from my standpoint personally I'd almost rather not see it," he said of candidates seeking to raise large amounts of money from the Koch brothers. "I see all of the money that's being raised by these folks, and they're raising hundreds of millions of dollars, and ultimately billions of dollars."

Trump has made the self-funded nature of his campaign a signature issue, insisting that unlike his rivals he cannot be bribed as he won't be in thrall to donors. "I don't need anybody's money," he said, but "I'm not sure it's the worst thing in the world."

He has also spoken publicly about strengthening the libel laws so the press isn't protected from publishing lies.

"One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."

The press is currently protected when telling lies, unless a plaintiff can prove they acted with malice, in reckless disregard to the truth (New York Times Co. V. Sullivan).

  • That seems unnecessary, since a deliberate lie would seem to be inherently malicious. I hope if the rules are changed then there are safeguards to prevent abuse by the wealthy. – Phil Lello Apr 7 '16 at 14:36
  • I was hoping you could update your answer to add details of the proposed safeguards to your quote. – Phil Lello Apr 7 '16 at 14:42
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    @PhilLello, "update your answer to add details of the proposed safeguards to your quote." and "I hope if the rules are changed then there are safeguards to prevent abuse by the wealthy." – Phil Lello, Why would I update what Trump has said about Freedom of Speech, with what you have said about safeguards? No one cares what you think. You are specifically asking about what Trump's position is, not yours. – user1873 Apr 7 '16 at 15:04
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    @PhilLello This answer doesn't even mention safeguards. I'd say that "there are no safeguards" is a fair default unless otherwise specified. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Apr 7 '16 at 16:35
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    @PhilLello - If Trump has mentioned safeguards, that would be a valid addition to this answer. But you'll need to link to the quotes, since they'er not on his official site. – Bobson Apr 7 '16 at 16:47

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