Georgia lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it a crime to impose someone’s face onto an obscene depiction. To put that simply: “Photoshopping” or digitally altering an obscene image by putting another person’s face on it would become illegal.
Someone did just that after the filing of House Bill 39 in the Georgia General Assembly. Andre Walker of the Georgia Politics Unfiltered blog explained in a Feb. 11 post why he took the photo of the body of a male porn star and pasted onto it the face of State Rep. Earnest Smith, D-Augusta, one of the bill’s sponsors:
I would simply remind Representative Smith that he's a public figure, and just like someone had the protected right to depict former President George W. Bush as a monkey, I have the protected right to Photoshop the head of any elected official onto the body of anything I chose.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects all forms of speech, not just spoken word. That's why House Bill 39 is so asinine. It attempts to regulate speech and I doubt it would stand up in a court of law.
After Walker’s photo began circulating online, Smith told WSB TV that the bill is misunderstood.
“It’s not about adults. It’s about, again, the sanctity and privacy of our kids,” he told the TV station, adding that he is supporting HB 39 in order to protect teens from becoming victims of cyber cruelty.
Smith also added that the bill was the result of a constituent whose teen daughter had a photo altered and spread online.
Should HB 39 be passed, those who create false obscene images of others would be charged with defamation, and those convicted could face a $1,000 fine or imprisonment of up to a year.
A copy of HB 39 as retrieved Sunday night is attached to this article.
Should lawmakers pass House Bill 39?
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