Italy Demands Apple Remove Joke iTunes App; Starts Legal Action Against App Author

from the humor-sensors? dept

btr1701 passes on the news of how Italy’s tourism minister apparently has absolutely no sense of humor. There’s an app in the Apple iTunes store for iPhones and iPads called “What Country,” which summarizes every country in quick stereotypical snippets. It’s meant to be amusing. For example:


Britain is characterised by “tea, weird sense of humour, football hooligans and rain”, while Germany is summed up with “beer, discipline and autobahns”. China is reduced to “overpopulation, kung fu, Great Wall, Tibet and tea ceremony”, while the most defining characteristics of the US are “melting pot, hamburger and the American dream”.

As for Italy, well, it’s summarized as “pizza, the Mafia and scooters.” And, apparently, Italy’s tourism minister, Michela Vittoria Brambilla, has such a lack of humor that she declared the app “offensive and unacceptable,” demanded that Apple remove it from the store and (most ridiculous of all) is asking the state’s attorney to take legal action against the author. Apparently, someone thinks it’s illegal in Italy to make a joke about Italy.

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Comments on “Italy Demands Apple Remove Joke iTunes App; Starts Legal Action Against App Author”

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36 Comments
Pickle Mongersays:

What's illegal

C’mon Mike. Don’t be ridiculous. It’s obviously not illegal in Italy to have a sense of humour as witnessed by their numerous excellent comedies. It is, however, obviously illegal to have common sense as witnessed by:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100427/2329349205.shtml
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100305/1139318439.shtml
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100207/2246518070.shtml
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100118/0311057792.shtml

Or one can just click on the “Italy” tag and keep reading, reading, reading…

Rikuosays:

Re: But they're facts

Ignore the blank comment above, pressed enter at the wrong time…
What the app mentioned “pizza, the Mafia and scooters” is merely listing what can be found in the country, or what the country is known for. Pizza came from Italy, as did the Mafia; was the scooter invented in Italy as well?
Does Italy not have free speech laws? (Oh wait, I remember, their Prime Minister owns most of the media in the country). Now I can see what would happen if Rupert Murdoch became President…

btr1701says:

Re: The most important question

Does Italy actually has jurisdiction over the app’s author? What
if he is from the US?

Then the most they can do is indict and try him in absentia (because the U.S. certainly isn’t going to extradite one of its citizens to stand trial for something which is constitutionally protected here) and when they convict him, he’ll never be able to go to Italy without fear of arrest.

Other than that, he won’t have to worry about it at all.

puffosays:

You are all wrong!

I lived 4 years in the US and love America. I am Italian. But believe me most of your comments are to me offensive! It is not a matter of lack of sense of humor!!! In Italy we are more happy, relax and easy going than in the US. But I also think that when we talk about stereotyping and dignity, there is alway a limit to what is correct and what is not correct to say or do. I think that if Fiat or another Italian company will make a joke about 9/11 or the assassination of JFK or Martin Luther King, I am sure many of you will be hurt!

Italy should NOT be identify by a well know company as Mafia or spaghetti! Period!

darrylsays:

Talk about racist :)

“while the most defining characteristics of the US are “melting pot, hamburger and the American dream”. “

Ofcourse, this was written by someone in America, what a joke do you Americans honestly believe that is how the US is seen by the world ?

A melting pot !!!, you’re joking, the US is highly sectarian, sure you come from different places originally but you are certainly NOT one, all in a melting pot.

Hambergers and the American dream, yea, right,

But its funny to see the various comments for various countries, it shows a very narrow, and bordering on racist attitude..

when you state for Britain “tea, weird sense of humour”,

Weird sense of humour… HAHA, thats funny, and it shows that its probably (most probably) some US person who just ‘does not get it’.

Maybe, “warm beer, football hooigans, cricket.

and US “cheap tacky goods, loud boisterous tourists, know it all’s, self centered, and willing to war any and all comers.

How shalow to make claims like that about Itaily, when as has been stated here, the US is far worse than Itaily in respect of mafia, crime, Italian art, curture, history, cars, the Pope, and a history that makes the US look like babies in the pram.

Im from Australia, we came from convicts and crims mostly, and we have a short history in this country, but we dont claim to be the leaders of the planet.. (we just know we are :))

from Italiasays:

It's not all

I’m from Italia,and we are angry not only because the mafia-only picture, but because of all the country of the world we are not the only one to deal with crime. Unfortunately there are a lot of other places more dangerous and hard than mine. As an Italian I can tell you that is not easy to deal everytime with stereotypes like this.It’s not the first time, I never heard an Italian say stereotypes about other places here, but when we go abroad we always find people who call us “mafia, mandolino, spaghetti”. Why? We are the state that millions of people come to visit each year and all of you probably wear something italian. But you can’t understand us as a people that struggle everyday with mafia heritage. Lots of people died for this crime and we are struggling to beat it,it’s serious stuff, not a stereotype. At this point I prefer if you call us “pizza mandolino spaghetti” like before.

from Italiasays:

It's not all

I’m from Italia,and we are angry not only because the mafia-only picture, but because of all the country of the world we are not the only one to deal with crime. Unfortunately there are a lot of other places more dangerous and hard than mine. As an Italian I can tell you that is not easy to deal everytime with stereotypes like this.It’s not the first time, I never heard an Italian say stereotypes about other places here, but when we go abroad we always find people who call us “mafia, mandolino, spaghetti”. Why? We are the state that millions of people come to visit each year and all of you probably wear something italian. But you can’t understand us as a people that struggle everyday with mafia heritage. Lots of people died for this crime and we are struggling to beat it,it’s serious stuff, not a stereotype. At this point I prefer if you call us “pizza mandolino spaghetti” like before.

from Italiasays:

It's not all

I’m from Italia,and we are angry not only because the mafia-only picture, but because of all the country of the world we are not the only one to deal with crime. Unfortunately there are a lot of other places more dangerous and hard than mine. As an Italian I can tell you that is not easy to deal everytime with stereotypes like this.It’s not the first time, I never heard an Italian say stereotypes about other places here, but when we go abroad we always find people who call us “mafia, mandolino, spaghetti”. Why? We are the state that millions of people come to visit each year and all of you probably wear something italian. But you can’t understand us as a people that struggle everyday with mafia heritage. Lots of people died for this crime and we are struggling to beat it,it’s serious stuff, not a stereotype. At this point I prefer if you call us “pizza mandolino spaghetti” like before.

Annasays:

Not Cool

As the Italians on this thread have pointed out, the mafia is not something to joke about. It’s an awful thing, and so many people have died. So that when some stupid American makes a joke about it, it’s just boorish and rude and insensitive and gauche. It’d be like an Italian poking fun at 9/11 or Columbine or something. It doesn’t mean that Italians have no sense of humour (they do! I’m American but I live in Italy).

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