People are taking on Cody, and Kasey Pryce, her beloved cat

Kasey Pryce was at her desk at Wilson Lindsay, who specializes in family law, when she decided to make a print of her dead cat Cody and put it on the wall outside her office.

“I didn’t know what else to do with this picture,” she said, “so I set it on the wall.”

She put her computer on the Internet for details of the big case involving Cody and a former client. Something in the Internet redirected her to an obituary in the Register, saying Cody died of a heart attack the day before he was put to sleep.

Then Ms. Pryce opened her Facebook page and immediately saw what a publicist called “the perfect storm.” She found two entries in Cody’s obituary describing Cody’s great sense of humor, a reference to Cody’s cat paws. And two photographs.

“Let’s just say he’s pretty well known,” Ms. Pryce said.

She had just enough time before going to court on the old case to snap the photos.

The newspaper offers protection under the First Amendment to display material such as photographs and articles in public, part of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. But under rules in place at a handful of companies, public displays of the newspaper’s contents can be limited — and the restrictions can be quite elaborate.

While the newspaper in California permits people to post its content on their own property, photos of the Times cannot be taken in a way that the newspaper would see.

Anyone who wants to display a photo of Times content — even a black-and-white picture of a single digit — must apply for permission, and must pay a fee. Once they get the go-ahead, the image is subject to strict use and storage rules. Many news organizations have purchased newspapers to keep them, and more than a few New York newspapers have converted to silica paper, which is harder to tear.

Many art galleries and libraries do not accept the image, either. George Akerlof, a University of California, Berkeley economist, concluded that only about 6 percent of books on display are worthy of preservation.

On Friday, Ms. Pryce took off for court, before she was surrounded by local TV cameras, photographers and reporters. At her appearance, many people stopped to ask for her story, and dozens of requests for interviews piled up.

“Cody has become our cultural icon,” Ms. Pryce said.

That may or may not be true, but it might be true if Cody died next to a cardboard box on the curb.

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