Apparently Sarah Palin’s supporters have begun carrying signs with the Republican vice-presidential nominee’s face superimposed on the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” sign often associated with Richmond’s World War II’s ship-building effort. Last night, Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt e-mailed out a dialogue he had with someone displeased by the image’s use.
From: Lorenzo Mota
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 9:56 PM
Cc: Long Beach
Subject: Rosie the Riveter Picture
Today, September 10, 2008, a photo on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, revealed that the McCain campaign is using placards with a picture of Rosie the Riveter with the face of Gov Sarah Palin superimposed on the picture and using the same slogan “We Can Do It” as in the original picture.
I assume your organization has copy rights to Rosie the Riveter material, photos etc. Based on the fact that she was nominated for Vice President, one week ago today, it is unlikely the McCain campaign had authorization from your organization to use the picture? As you are aware, the Rosie the Riveter Trust is the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service for Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. You are also affiliated with the City of Richmond, CA. In my opinion, I do not believe that it is appropriate and possibly an enfringement of copy rights for the McCain campaign to use your picture for partisan politics?
What a shame to use the historical contributions of women during WWII for political gain by the McCain campaign. Your prompt and timely response to this complaint is appreciated.
And, Butt’s response:
From: Butt, Tom
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 10:05 PM
To: ‘Lorenzo Mota'; email@example.com
Cc: Long Beach; RosieTrust; Tam, Katherine; Media
Subject: RE: Rosie the Riveter Picture
This graphic has been in the public domain for many years. Thousands of people have used it (or misused it) for every conceivable purpose. Rosie the Riveter Trust has no control whatsoever over its use.
However, thanks for contacting us. Check out our website at www.rosietheriveter.org and consider supporting our organization. Hope to see you at the Home front Festival!
Tom Butt, President
Rosie the Riveter Trust
117 Park Place
Point Richmond, CA 94801
Rosie the Riveter Trust Website: www.rosietheriveter.org
Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front National Historical Park Website: www.nps.gov/rori
At least a few feminist bloggers — here, here and here — aren’t happy about Rosie’s re-purposing. But a quick search finds t-shirts, posters, mugs and other items with the image are popping up for sale across the Internet.