[Clipart] Nazi flag - final post on issue
bryce at bryceharrington.com
Fri Aug 12 20:22:02 PDT 2005
I really enjoyed your talk at OSDL yesterday, and especially took note
at your point about establishing freedoms in content as well as software
and transport levels, because one of the projects I'm involved in is a
clipart project, with the objective of generating lots of content in the
form of clip art.
We've been extremely successful at helping people share content freely,
but we keep running into a particular thorny legal issue.
The issue is that in some countries, certain symbols are said to be
illegal to share. The best example of this is the nazi flag and
German law. Germany, desiring to not promote fascism, has enacted
certain laws to restrict the display of nazi symbology, including the
On the one hand, we all do not like fascism and can agree that the nazi
flag is a very evil symbol. However, on the other hand, some of us
think that censoring of symbols - even evil symbols - puts us on a
The approach that our project has adopted is to allow for filtering of
the package. For people in areas with legal restrictions, we provide a
way to download a package that is free from the restricted images, while
we also provide an "uncensored" version for general download.
I would like to hear your thoughts and advice on both the question of
whether the German law even applies to a project like us (see
Christian's comments about the law in question below), and on whether
you think our approach to the problem is a good one (from both legal and
On Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 02:45:47PM -0400, Kevin Wixson wrote:
> Are you a lawyer or a judge? If not, then of what significance is your
> interpretation of German law? A prosecutor may have a different view,
> and even if the case is lost in court, who wants to spend the money on a
> legal defense? Just the risk of being sued may influence people's
> willingness to download the library.
> The point is not the Nazi flag, as has been said. The point is that a
> completely open submission policy makes OCAL vulnerable to the inclusion
> of legal land mines that can affect the distribution of the library.
> Actual legality aside, people's perceptions of propriety will influence
> their decision to download or not to download.
> Will people download the library if they get the impression that some of
> the content of the library might be risky or inappropriate. Marketing
> experts will tell us no, they will not. The audience, as a rule will not
> take the time and trouble to sort out the nuances of the library
> content's legality and propriety. They'll simply take a pass on it and
> move on to other options which are more safe.
> Addressing people's specific concerns one by one will have no effect.
> Posting the actual German law having to do with the Nazi flag is of no
> use. People are simply not going to bother looking.
> Legality aside, what about propriety itself? How many people have been
> fired for having pornographic content on their work computers? If there
> is pornographic content in the library, do you think people in offices
> will take the chance that they won't be fired for downloading
> pornography? Or will they give it a miss and go somewhere else, where
> they are assured that there is nothing that will get them in trouble
> with their boss?
> For these and other reasons the "Flag and Filter" policy is inadequate.
> "Clean" versions of the library must be available for download if the
> project is to be a success.
> Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller wrote:
> >As mentioned by Bryce and others and also viewable on among other places
> >the plans for the Document Management system, yes issues like this will
> >be taken care of by the tagging system planned.
> >But also so I have is posted in public so there need to be No More
> >Bogus Claims posted on it, here is the German law in question:
> >Article 86a of the German penal code states:
> > 1. There is a charge of up to three years in prison or a
> > financial fee for:
> > 1. publishing symbols of an organization hostile to
> > the constitution, or using these symbols
> > publicly in meetings or publications.
> > 2. importing, exporting using, publishing,
> > distributing or producing items with these
> > symbols domestically or internationally.
> > 2. symbols are flags, buttons, uniforms, slogans and forms
> > of greetings. Included are variations that are extremely
> > similar to the original ones.
> > 3. Excepted are the use of these symbols for public
> > education, prevention of hostile actions against the
> > constitution, the use in art, science, schooling, news
> > reports, historical reports and the like.
> >Non-nazi's downloading OCAL would have a pretty hard time in my opinion
> >not being covered by exception clause listed as item 3. In fact you can
> >claim that 'the use in art' cover OCAL itself, the word clipART should
> >actually be a hint.
> >So the next time someone wants to post about the legality of that flag
> >in German law, please point them to this email in the archive.
> >On Fri, 2005-08-05 at 16:45 +0200, Omar Abo-Namous wrote:
> >>i've been following this topic all the time (including that pr0n-topic).
> >>I agree with those who say, we shouldn't censor too much, but should tag
> >>all items. Also there should be a mechanism to say, i only want to
> >>download/view items outside this tag-"area".
> >>Living in Germany, i fear i can't download the OCAL because of the
> >>nazi-flag, that is strictly forbidden in Germany. I cann see that some
> >>would like to use it (for whatever reasons..), but at the same time we
> >>should be aware of the legal implications.
> >>One option would be to distribute packages and to be able to update
> >>these packages with tagged-packages. So, i want to download the OCAL and
> >>select all the categories, i want to be included, then i select the
> >>tag-categories i want to be included too..
> >>Thank you very much for your work.
> >>cya. Omar Abo-Namous
> >>Open Clip Art Library Feedback Form wrote:
> >>>Name: wos
> >>>E-mail: scheuing at realss.com
> >>>With search keyword "Germany" appears a nazi flag. Please remove this
> >>>Nobody needs such a flag. It is a sign for a cruel regime. Why do you
> >>>offer this flag???
> >>>clipart mailing list
> >>>clipart at lists.freedesktop.org
> >>clipart mailing list
> >>clipart at lists.freedesktop.org
> >clipart mailing list
> >clipart at lists.freedesktop.org
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