Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.
A two-year push by J.D. Salinger's family to protect the famously reclusive author's name and image from commercial use came up short this week, when New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch used his veto pen to block legislation that would have limited the commercial use of a person's identity after they die.
The Associated Press explains that the Catcher in the Rye author's family lobbied state lawmakers to pass a bill that would have asserted that a person's right to control the commercial use of his or her identity can be handed down to heirs, and remains in effect for 70 years.* If signed into law, the measure would have prevented Granite State sellers from using Salinger's image on things like coffee mugs and key chains, commercial tchotchkes that the Salinger clan has taken exception to in the past.
While the identity bill ultimately passed both of the state's legislative chambers, Lynch vetoed it Tuesday on the grounds that it was overly broad and ran the risk of having a "chilling effect" on journalism, art, and free speech, the Concord Monitor reports.
Salinger fled the Manhattan literary scene in 1953, two years after Catcher in the Rye was published, fed up with seeing his face on the book jacket, the New York Times noted in his obituary. He settled on a 90-acre compound in rural Cornish, N.H., where he remained until his 2010 death.
Support for the bill was largely led by the author’s son, Matt Salinger, who expressed disappointment that the governor vetoed it, telling the AP that his father was largely drawn to the state because of its protection for individual rights.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified J.D. Salinger’s book The Catcher in the Rye as Catcher and the Rye.