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Utopia Talk / Politics / Artistic freedom in Sweden
Mon Jul 06 07:43:55
Aron Flam is a Swedish (Jewish) comedian, podcaster and author. He recently released a book called "Det här är en Svensk Tiger", = "This is a Swedish Swedish tiger". This is a phrase that was used (together with a blue and yellow striped tiger) during WW2 in Sweden and is a derivation of "loose lips sink ships", "Tiger" in Swedish means both tiger and "to be silent". On the cover of the book, there is a blue and yellow stripped tiger, with a swastika on the arm, raised doing the Nazi salute and winking with one eye. It is a parody and Flam in the book asks "what were we to be silent about, we didn't have any ships in the Atlantic?".

The book details the ways in which Swedish government both before and during the war helped the germans and how Sweden remained _silent_ about all these activities. I won't get into the details, but the book is quite well researched. He released it first on the podcast, which is where I listened to it and then in print. What happened afterwards is the story of the day.

The "Swedish tiger" and the phrase "En svensk tiger" (A Sweden is silent) are today the intellectual property of a private museum and they have sued Aron Flam for copyright infringement. The third edition of the book has been seized by the police and the prosecutor has asked, that in addition to a fine, the books be destroyed (burned) and, get this, that they be allowed to track down the books already sold and destroy them too! :D

I have to be clear, there is no reason to believe the contents of the book are a motivating factor. Yet the optics are what they are. A Jewish author writing a book about Swedish cooperation with the Nazis and subsequent decades of silence afterwards may have his books burned because he used a parody depiction to ridicule and point out what Sweden was really silent about. :,)

Copyright laws are retarded.
Mon Jul 06 08:27:36

The museum could simply license the IP to the individual for a peppercorn of whatever the Swedish equivalent is.


So sounds more like the museum than the law here.

Aslo, how can "A sweden is silent" be copyright?
Mon Jul 06 08:51:18
They are not interested in that, the prosecutor has described it as "disfiguring the artwork of the artist" and maintains that the parody exemption of the copyright law is not applicable. They believe it is part of history and the war crisis, not to be used by anyone for less serious issues (or ridicule).

It's the entirety of the work, the tiger specifically, which the author maintains is not the same artwork, it is his own artwork, a parody.

I fucked up a detail, the municipality did not even use a tiger! They used a blue and yellow Racoon, in Swedish they are called "Tvättbjörn" (= washing bear) that was sort of posing (depicted from the side) as the original tiger.

Look at this, this is stupid.


The museum is acting foolish, but a foolish museum does make a case for the prosecutor, they must think there is a plausible case here. Problem is that in most situations it is too much of a hassle to fight a copyright claim, so you just cease.
Mon Jul 06 08:51:51
Here is Aron Flams tiger

Mon Jul 06 08:52:54
Here is the museum tiger.

Mon Jul 06 09:01:33
I should say, copyright law has been weaponized for some time to bully people to not do with the art work, things they owner feels is inappropriate, not necessarily illegal.
Mon Jul 06 09:02:09
I'm also confused, how do you copyright a phrase?

As for the tiger image, well yeah it's an identical copy. You can't just slap Mickey Mouse on your book cover and argue that Disney can't sue you because you're talking about the Holocaust.
Mon Jul 06 09:16:43
"I should say, copyright law has been weaponized for some time to bully people to not do with the art work, things they owner feels is inappropriate, not necessarily illegal"

In Germany copyright law has been used, too, to suppress artists who were not PC:
Mon Jul 06 09:50:23
Hmm, I'm still confused.

I don't undertsand where the racoon comes in, but the tiger was part of a public health campaign in the 40s, surely it's public domain now?

And surely there is fair use here?

And the phrase is surely public domain.

Whole thing seems very very odd.
Mon Jul 06 09:53:18
Also, what exactly is the damage?

It's not like people read this book because of the picture on the cover?

Nor would sales of this book cannibalise visits to the museum or any merchandise.

Do they sell loads of "Swedish Tiger" posters? i can see them worried about it going from 40's kitsch to nazi symbol.

What's the commercial basis for the complaint?
Mon Jul 06 10:19:07
Maybe he can cite ”fair use”. People do that on the internet every day. They steal other people’s illustrations and photographs, make a change or add something to it and then they say ”You can not sue me! It’s fair use!”
Mon Jul 06 10:45:28
Nimatzo: Copyright laws are retarded

Copyright holders: Excuse me but spend x amount of hours and draw your own illustration. Buy that $3,000 camera and $3,000 telephoto lens with your own money and then drive your own god damn car to that location and spend your own hours to take that photo of that tiger. Or shut the hell up and pay us for using our work.
Mon Jul 06 11:09:00

The tiger is altered from the original image, which itself is from the 1940s public communications campaign.

I assume the illustrator would have had to recreate it from scratch.

So I don't really see it the same as stealing someone else's image
Mon Jul 06 11:27:41

The tiger was part of swedish ww2 propaganda, and while funded with tax money, the tiger is now owned by a private museum. The racoon is a recent Covid campaign, which was shut down by the museum, of course the racoon is using the same idea, a stripped animal with a double pun name.

Flam’s tiger is a parody of the original ww2 tiger. The damage is disfiguring the artwork. It is quite silly.
Mon Jul 06 13:43:24
Animals are inherently racist. Beimg silly is also racist and anti lgbtq-squirttle.
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