Rome – Italy’s national film archive company said Tuesday it will take legal action against the “improper” distribution of a set of fiery speeches by Benito Mussolini in a best-selling iPhone application. The Rome-based Istituto Luce said in a statement that US company Apple must “immediately interrupt” the sale of the Mussolini material on its iTunes download store.
The 25 minutes of audio and video clips on the Fascist dictator contained in the iPhone application, were illegally obtained from DVDs whose copyright the film archive company said it owns.
This was borne out by the fact that the Istituto Luce’s eagle logo appears on the footage, it added.
Neither Luigi Marino – the 25-year-old Neapolitan computer programmer who created the application, titled “iMussolini: The man who changed the history of our country,” – nor Apple had obtained permission to sell the material, Istituto Luce said.
The iMussolini speeches, culled from Fascist propaganda newsreels of the 1920s, 30s and 40s represent an “aberration,” far removed from the educational and documentary purposes for which they should be used, the Istituto Luce said.
The controversial application has, in recent days, been downloaded at a rate of about 1,000 times a day, according to Marino, who has insisted its sale is not intended to “celebrate Fascism.”
But the application, which has ranked first among those most sold on the Italian version of the iTunes store, has drawn a wave of criticism both within Italy and abroad.
On Sunday the New York-based American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants slammed Apple, calling iMussolini “a disgrace and a surrender to crass commercialism.”
Left-leaning Rome-daily La Repubblica described the iMussolini application a “flabbergasting phenomenon,” noting that its customers “aren’t nostalgic old people and historians of the Fascist era, but kids and young adults who spend time and money on the internet and get their information from it.”