fimmtudagur, febrúar 16, 2006

law of the land

My coworker, and author of some excellent krapp, pointed out to me today that I may have been breaking Icelandic national flag-law (fánalög) by wearing the Icelandic flag-hat in my 15-minutes-of-fame concert photo in Moggun. It seemed there was a possibility that I was disrespecting the Icelandic flag by wearing it in hat form. American conservatives of a certain stripe would be happy to know that among the first laws passed upon Iceland's (second) independence on June 17, 1944, were several related to utmost respect for the Icelandic flag. In fact, maybe flag-loving Americans should take a page from the Icelandic law book, and copy the following straight into the American Constitution (in Icelandic):

12. gr. Enginn má óvirða þjóðfánann, hvorki í orði né verki.

No person may disrespect the national flag, neither in word nor deed.

Óheimilt er að nota þjóðfánann sem einkamerki einstaklinga, félaga eða stofnana eða auðkennismerki á aðgöngumiðum, samskotamerkjum eða öðru þess háttar.

In other words, it is not permitted to use the flag as a private logo. (I bet a lot of flag-waving Midwestern sewage-pumping companies wouldn't be too happy about the American version of this one.)

Heimilt er með leyfi forsætisráðuneytisins að nota fánann í vörumerki eða á söluvarning, umbúðir um eða auglýsingu á vöru eða þjónustu, enda sé starfsemi sú sem í hlut á að gæðum samkvæmt því sem ráðuneytið mælir fyrir með reglugerð og fánanum ekki óvirðing gerð. Óheimilt er að nota fánann í firmamerki.

You need government permission to use the flag for a trade mark or to mark goods for sale, in commercials etc. And no disrespecting of it when you do this, neither. (This is the part he thought I was breaking, but we're assuming the maker/seller of this flag-hat followed the proper permitting procedures. But I'm willing to bet that selling Icelandic-flag boxers would be off-limits, even in Bónus.)

Óheimilt er að selja eða bjóða til sölu vörur af erlendum uppruna ef á þær eða umbúðir þeirra hefur verið sett mynd af íslenska fánanum.

Or, it's forbidden to sell or offer for sale foreign-made products that show an image of the Icelandic flag! (This one I don't get, because there are lots of chintsy Chinese-origin-looking tourist flags and hats (like mine) and all kinds of other krapp for sale here. Maybe one of you lögfræðingar reading this can help me out on this one. Is the tourist-schlock industry somehow exempt from provision 3, by the precedent set in Eden vs. Oddsson, perhaps?)

You can get more ideas for future American Constitutional amendments here. Happy legislating!


Blogger steffán said...

I'm getting scared, I've got an icelandic flag sticker on my vespa... and my intention is not to break the law... :-S
Is it allowed?
By the way, i've got a nice story to tell about this sticker: one day early in the morning, i found a note on my vespa. Someone had seen the icelandic flag and had left this note, written in icelandic, which meant "hello, have a good day" or somethink like that... It made my day!

Blogger Einar said...

I'm no legal expert, and not living in Iceland, so don't take these words for gold... but my guess is that old-fashionned and useless laws tend to be ignored eventually, so might it be with this one... It would be high time to change the law... I demand my right to flag-burning ;-)
(or at least be theoratically able to do so, without breaking the law by doing it)...


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