Danish member of parliament Mette Gjerkow was recently bemused when a photo of The Little Mermaid statue, considered a Danish national treasure, included in a Facebook post linking to her blog, was censored by the social media site’s moderators, according to The Local.
“Hadn’t just seen it coming that our national treasure be categorized in line with child pornography and such abominations,” a translated response on Gjerkow’s Facebook page states.
The Danish politician issued an appeal to Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) management, who reversed the decision Sunday evening and allowed the image of the famous mermaid statue to be visible to visitors to Mette Gjerkow’s Facebook page once again. On Gjerkow’s blog itself however, the owners deemed that Danish copyright restrictions necessitated the removal of the image of the statue: it has since been replaced with a photo of the flag of Denmark.
“TV2 has removed the Little Mermaid from my blog because it risks a large bill due to the copyright. Apparently one can’t publish photos of our national treasure without a substantial payment to the artist’s heirs. That’s what the law – approved by parliament – says,” the Danish member of parliament was quoted.
The family of the artist who created the bronze The Little Mermaid statue, Edvard Eriksen, is reportedly known to be “aggressive” in upholding the statue’s copyright. Reportedly, numerous media sources in Denmark have been the subject significant fees.
Members of a Danish press photographers’ group have been said to be “critical” of the restrictions placed on The Little Mermaid sculpture for them, when images of the sculpture are available freely on the Internet.
The Little Mermaid was commissioned by Danish Carlsberg brewer Carl Jacobsen in 1909 after seeing “solo dancer Ellen Price dance in Fini Henriques’ ballet The Little Mermaid at the Royal Theatre,” according to Copenhagen Pictures.
The face is reported to be based on Price’s, but the dancer was reported to balk at the idea of a nude depiction of her so free for public inspection. Respecting the dancer’s wishes, Edvard Erichsen’s wife was said to serve a model for the body of the statue instead. The Little Mermaid was first unveiled at a test site in September 1912, and later moved to its permanent home at the Langelinie promenade on the Copenhagen waterfront. Seventy-five percent of Danish tourists are said to make the beloved statue part of their itinerary when visiting the country.
The Little Mermaid ballet is based upon the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. The sculpture is said to symbolize “the story of a young mermaid who fell in love with a prince who lived on land, and often came up to the edge of the water to look for her love.”
In the fairy tale, the mermaid [spoiler alert] undergoes a transformation, losing her fish tail and gaining human legs. The Little Mermaid statue is said to take poetic license with this fact, in that the figure has a lower body seemingly combining features of both human legs and a fish’s tail.
From April to November 2010, The Little Mermaid was reported to have been exhibited as the “main attraction” of the Danish presentation at the World’s Fair held in Shanghai, China.
Facebook was said to have confirmed its general policy of censoring images of breasts, with the exception of women who are “actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring,” as reported by the Telegraph. The newspaper has also reported that Facebook has previously stated that it would “allow images of paintings or sculptures that depict nude figures.” The seemingly, though not actually, contradictory stance appears to have caused the temporary ban on images of The Little Mermaid statue, that otherwise would have been available for view by Mette Gjerkow’s followers, unabated.
[Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images]