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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Damn stereotypes

    Yeah, they get really picky about that kind of thing. The Italian Tourism Minister does not ride a scooter.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Update

    It now reads: pizza, the Mafia, scooters and no sense of humor.

     

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  3.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    Well, hey

    Everyone likes pizza. And scooters.

    Even the Mafia can be a positive influence in besieged communities.

    Michela Vittoria Brambilla, sadly ranks lower than any of the above.

     

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  4.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Obviously Italy's tourism minister is from northern Italy. If she had been from southern Italy, the author would have been found dead already. Maybe with an ironic apple stuffed in his mouth.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Watch out

    It looks like Italy wants the author whacked, and they'll do it, with someone disguised as a pizza delivery person... driving a scooter.

    *honk* *honk* *honk*

     

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  6.  
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    Pickle Monger (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    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/20 100305/1139318439.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100207/2246518070.shtml
    http://www.tech dirt.com/articles/20100118/0311057792.shtml
    ...
    Or one can just click on the "Italy" tag and keep reading, reading, reading...

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Greg G, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Ummm

    The app didn't mention women with hairy pits, so Michela Vittoria Brambilla should just keep her sleeved shirt on lest the hairs under her arms start waving in the breeze.

     

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  8.  
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    johnny canada, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    They should change 'Mafia' to charging Google Exec. with crimes.

    That should get the app 'fit for Italy'

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Karl Stevens, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    The minister is correct with his outrage!

    Where exactly are the fast cars!?!?!? Did the the app author forget about Ferrari and Lamborghini? (Not to mention Bugatti, which although technically German was founded by an Italian.)

    It's an outrage I say!

     

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  10.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    But they're facs

     

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  11.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    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...

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    The most important question

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

     

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  13.  
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    Liquid (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Damn stereotypes

    Are you sure?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Trails (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    Re: What's illegal

     

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  15.  
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    Guido AC, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Just imagine if the app had spoken disparagingly about Frank Sinatra or the Pope!

     

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  16.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Damn stereotypes

    Why else would Michela be so upset?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    whodoyouthinkyouare, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    Damn

    This guy is in trouble. Once the mob is done with their pizza break, they will ride there Vespas over to his house and whack him.

     

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  18.  
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    Stuart (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Re: The most important question

    Does Italy actually has cheezbrgr?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    TPBer, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    just curious

    Has anyone looked this fine red head up , who cares if she does not like something, just listen to her, she's smokin hot.

     

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  20.  
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    PopeRatzo (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    amazing

    So this was an app that Apple found acceptable, not the South Park app from Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

    I'd say it seems pretty arbitrary, but I'm sure Apple had a perfectly swell reason to reject Stone and Parker's app.

    Not.

     

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  21.  
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    Eugene (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Damn stereotypes

    It's called a Vespa damn it! They're different! D:

     

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  22.  
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    interval (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    Hey Italy!!

    Atsamattah for you?

     

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  23.  
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    Palmyra (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:53pm

    An Italian American says -

    Can I get on Android???!!!!!!!!

     

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  24.  
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    Max Nicks (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Damn stereotypes

    @Chrono S. Trigger - You are correct. She doesn't ride a scooter, but she is a member of the Mafia.

     

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  25.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Damn stereotypes

    and reportedly LOVES pizza

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 9:48pm

    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.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    puffo, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 1:21am

    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!

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    darryl, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 2:03am

    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 :))

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 7:52am

    To be fair, it's definitely shows a bias in the positive/negative selections. Yeah, I'm also guessing it's written by an American.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 7:55am

    Actually, what would be a laugh to see is a global poll asking the 3-4 things that immediately come to mind when thinking of a country... to build a kind of global "consensus" as to how we're all thought of, heh.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Sforyou, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 4:01pm

    same old crap

    Its obvious, somebody at apple is jealous, ignorant, spiteful or all three, it would be like referring to Germany as land of SS or something else.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    from Italia, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 6:25am

    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.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    from Italia, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    from Italia, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anna, Oct 8th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    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).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Luckythakur, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:58pm

    It's funny that our country has so much time to lose on such trivial issues when our whole government and economy is going straight to hell. Well, good riddance to us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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