Monday, March 10, 2014

Italy Condemns Tasteless Ad Showing Michelangelo's David Holding Assault Rifle

Italy Condemns Tasteless Ad Showing Michelangelo's David Holding Assault Rifle - ArtLyst Article image

Artlyst

The photoshopped image was created by an Illinois-based company called ArmaLite, and carries the slogan "a work of art" in promoting the $3,000 assault rifle. The Minister has now officially asked the company to remove the offending copy for the AR-50A1 weapon, without delay.

In a tweet Senior Franceschini complained  "The image of David, armed, offends and infringes the law. We will take action against the American company so that it immediately withdraws its campaign." Italian Heritage and the Board of Fine Art's curator Cristina Acidini has served a legal notice to ArmaLite to withdraw the image immediately, stating it distorts the original artwork which is deep rooted in Italian culture and heritage.

The Italian government has expressed that it owns the copyright on the commercial use of images of David. The director of Florence's Accademia Gallery, where the statue is on display,Angelo Tartuferi, told the Repubblica newspaper: "The law says that the aesthetic value of the work cannot be distorted. "In this case, not only is the choice in bad taste but also completely illegal."

31 comments:

  1. I have to admit that I have no idea whether a country can own the image of an artwork and what kind of control it can exert over its use. I did find this one though.

    http://www.pleated-jeans.com/2012/03/12/20-funny-before-and-afters/mindbodygreen/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that's pretty bad too.

      Delete
    2. But you don't hear the Italians whiner doing anything about that do you.......

      Delete
  2. Well, that's just too damned bad. The current Italian state didn't even exist when that statue was made, and the image is certainly public domain, no matter how much the government claims otherwise.

    Oh, and that's not an assault rifle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Oh, and that's not an assault rifle."

      Very true Greg. In fact, its a single shot. No magazine at all. But its a dreaded .50BMG.

      Delete
    2. "The image is certainly public domain," is that your expert legal opinion, Greg?

      Delete
    3. 1. It's a pretty safe bet that the statue will be found to be in the public domain if a suit is filed in a US court--just like the King James Bible, Shakespeare's works, etc. If it's filed in Italy, the court may find for the government (I know nothing of Italian law), but they won't exactly be able to enforce the law over here.

      2. As has been pointed out--assault rifle? hahahahahaha! Well, it IS scary and black, but the bolt handle and lack of a magazine show forth clear as day. Gotta love the media and their inability to properly identify guns. At least they didn't call it an Uzi, Glock, or AK-47.

      3. It's illegal for David to be armed? Seriously? WTF? For one thing, he's armed in the original statue--has his sling and stone in his left hand. And then there's the fact that this is DAVID we're talking about--warrior king who defeated all sorts of enemies, but he must be portrayed disarmed?

      Delete
    4. And I don't care how much of a badass he was with that sling, no one will ever convince me that he would not have much preferred a .50 BMG rifle when he squared off against Goliath.

      Delete
    5. You may be right, Kurt, especially in later battles. However, in that one, remember the boasting back and forth--there's something extra demoralizing about taking the giant down with a sling and decapitating him with his own sword.

      Delete
    6. " It's illegal for David to be armed? " Dumb question.

      "The law says that the aesthetic value of the work cannot be distorted."

      Delete
    7. "The law says that the aesthetic value of the work cannot be distorted."

      But whose law? Italy's, or someone who must be taken seriously?

      Delete
    8. Yes, Mike, that's one person's (a museum curator) description of the alleged state of the law. My comment was with regard to the tweet by the minister earlier in the piece--maybe he has the same understanding and was being unclear in the limited number of characters for a tweet. Even if that's the case, it was a dumb comment for him to make.


      As for the alleged law against distorting the aesthetic value of the work, even if that exists, that does not necessarily have a binding affect on the American company and their picture. Nor does Italy's assertion of owning all rights to the statue. Turkey asserts that there was no Armenian genocide--that doesn't mean people in the US can't write about the genocide--it just means that they shouldn't travel to Turkey where they could be prosecuted.

      Italy is welcome to claim whatever it wants and enforce that within its borders, but for their claim to have weight here, they would have to support it in a way that our laws recognize. Considering that even the works of the Bard are considered public domain, I don't see the Italians establishing intellectual property rights to the works of an even older artist.

      Delete
    9. I still say that by virtue of the Streissand effect, Italy is bringing more attention to this than Armalite could afford to buy. The even funnier/more ironic part is that Mikeb is helping out.

      Just think, Mikeb, you might have helped sell a .50 BMG rifle or two!

      Delete
    10. Italy is welcome to claim whatever it wants and enforce that within its borders, but for their claim to have weight here, they would have to support it in a way that our laws recognize.

      Say - - - here's an interesting question: although, as Simon points out, Italy seems to have little or nothing with which to threaten Armalite, would Mikeb, as a resident of Italy, be perhaps not so invulnerable? Think they're petty/vindictive enough to go after anyone who helps disseminate the offending image?

      Delete
    11. How many divisions does Italy have to enforce its claim of copyright, and could said nation even afford to drive them as far as Marseille?

      Delete
    12. Yep. The Streisand effect is a bitch. I'd have never come across this ad if it weren't for the controversy.

      Delete
    13. Interestingly, it looks like the ad was discontinued last JULY--congrats to Italy for giving Armalite a bunch of press on an old ad.

      Delete
    14. Kurt, didn't you used to mock my blog for its small readership? No, what, you're crediting me with disseminating this image far and wide?

      Simon, nice attempt at a dodge. You made a stupid comment about exactly what the violation of law was and then blamed it on someone else for having said it. You're in good company among your fellow commenters, they're also incapable of admitting anything either, not the slightest mistake or oversight, let alone something significant.

      Delete
    15. Actually, I didn't make any representation about the state of the law in Italy or what was violated. I pulled a stupid comment from the minister and made fun of it.

      But again, you're projecting your own sins on me by trying to twist my making fun of a buffoon into some kind of legal analysis. The proper response would be, "Yeah, that was a stupid remark. What about the legal issue?" Of course, that is if you wanted to discuss it rather than misrepresent what I said and then call me a liar for not kowtowing to you.

      Delete
    16. Kurt, didn't you used to mock my blog for its small readership?

      I may have, but among that small readership, I would wager there are more people who would rather buy a .50 BMG rifle than impose more restrictions on them, so I don't think it's inconceivable that you've helped Armalite sell one or two of them.

      Delete
    17. Mikeb, just to be clear so you don't think I'm dodging, I don't give one damn what Italy wants in this case or what its cute laws demand.

      Delete
  3. Some people have no appreciation for humor. The same people are apparently utterly clueless about what an assault rifle is.

    Like SSG, I have no idea what kind of legal control Italy has over this. Under U.S. law, if I understand correctly, centuries-old artwork is pretty much fair game. Regardless, though, I think that the more Italy whines, the more of a "Streissand effect" they'll generate, making this even funnier.

    SSG, the Michael Moore version of David is pretty hilarious, too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If they are going to arm a statue they should start with Antioch's Venus de Milo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *groan followed by laughter*

      Delete
  6. If that thing goes off, he will lose his fig leaf.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was about to say, "He doesn't have a fig leaf," but then I scrolled up and looked--they've photoshopped one in.

      This brings up a new idea--Armalite can countersue and recruit other plaintiffs--they can sue Italy for indecent exposure for all their naked statuary. Why, I can even remember a friend being quite scandalized when she saw the David. Granted she was 11, but that just makes it worse--they're parading that around in front of Children! It's nothing but a huge marble piece of 3D pornography...

      What's that you say? This would be a frivolous lawsuit with no basis in our common law? Yes...

      Delete
  7. That statue already had a nice, big gun! Michelangelo had an appreciation for that type of physique.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, Michelangelo is noted for giving his male figures small anatomy. Perhaps he supported gun control.

      Delete
    2. And we draw closer to the inevitable "compensation" comment...

      Delete