The United Stasi Of America, eh? Yes, I can see why some people might get upset.
A light sculpture projected onto the side of the US Embassy in Berlin could get the artist, Oliver Bienkowski, jail time, according to German newspaper Der Tagespiegel. The performance, all of thirty seconds long, featured Kim Dotcom of Megaupload in all his glory, with the tagline ‘United Stasi of America’ – a reference to the former East German secret police – plastered over it, and a soundtrack featuring such memorable quotes as ‘what about free speech, Mr. President’, as sung by Dotcom himself. In so doing, the artist may have violated Paragraph 103 of the German Penal Code, which makes it an offense to insult foreign heads of state. The penalty could be as much as three years in prison, increasing to five if combined with libel charges.
The artist’s lawyer, Fabien Eickstädt, is arguing that, since the art was projected on the side of the US Embassy – American soil – German laws don’t apply. Moreover in order to start the prosecution, someone would have to file a complaint, and the US Embassy doesn’t appear to be in any kind of hurry to do so.
“Using the satirical art form of satire,” said Bienkowski’s lawyer in a statement, “which has always featured exaggeration and hyperbole, Bienkowski protested in a legitimate manner against the massive reduction of civil rights, in particular the recently revealed attacks on the privacy of (not only) German citizens by intercontinental interceptions. With his light installation, Mr. Bienkowski has put his finger into the wound, making a vital contribution to the public debate and public opinion.”
Source: Ars Technica