Vancouver Art Gallery Ordered To Remove Anti-Olympics Mural

from the free-speech?-not-with-the-olympics-in-town dept

Yet again, we’re learning how when the Olympics come to town, your free speech rights apparently disappear. Rob Hyndman sends over the news that a Vancouver art gallery was ordered to remove a mural, because it was viewed as being anti-Olympics. The Olympics, of course, comes to Vancouver in a few months. The mural in question showed five rings, in the usual Olympic pattern, with four of the rings showing a frown face, and the fifth showing a smiley. The mural was hanging outside of the gallery, so the city claims the order to take it down came due to local graffiti laws — though the gallery says in 10 years, this is the first mural it had to take down. In fact, when the landlord was told to remove the graffiti, he called the city back to ask what graffiti since he didn’t see any and assumed the mural was fine, given the history of murals hung there. And, of course, there’s already concern over a special law — passed just for the Olympics — that gives law enforcement the right to remove signage that they don’t like.

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Comments on “Vancouver Art Gallery Ordered To Remove Anti-Olympics Mural”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Interesting that you bring that up. I was thinking about the royalty issues by SOCAN playing music at the Vancouver transit system the other day. Sorry to bring up a week-old story, but the licensing thing bugs me.

It seems reasonable to think Vancouver-based Nettwerk offered free licensing to their music catalog for buskers, and SOCAN wanted to put the kibosh on it.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: not surprising..

> > “the olympic committee thinks they can control everything”

> They think that because it’s true, all governments so far have
> allowed them control everything.

Well, if this specific case had happened in the USA, it wouldn’t have gone far. The city can kow-tow to the Olympics and pass all the special laws it likes but none of them trump the 1st Amendment. Ordering an art gallery to take down a mural like that would violate about a half-dozen constitutional free speech precedents and would be quickly reversed by judicial order.

Danny (profile) says:

This is Great!

great in a social exhibitionism sort of way.

I hope the gallery places the mural in a prominent position just inside its front door.

And I hope the copyright holder (artist or gallery) permits free online reproduction of this piece so the message the Olympics (or at least the City of Vancouver) is trying to suppress is spread far and wide.

I also agree with the sentiment that the gallery ought to leave the mural out front and force the city to forcibly remove it. The episode would undoubtedly be captured on video and posted all over the Internet.

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