Strong discussion on the polish internet takes place nowadays because of the Fiat advertisement created by Leo Burnett. This polish version of very similar conceptions which could be seen in France or Italy is now being accused of using public memory for the commercial purposes:
To tell the truth, Fiat became a part of polish history. But for many people using an image of Solidarity movement, Lech Wa??sa, John Paul II or even the Warsaw Uprising in the advertisement is a violation of principle in which great historical moments and personalities can not be owned by any political or commercial circle – they are a public domain of memory and can not be credited to the one company or political party.
In this case there is – over this main problem with ownership of social memory – another level of controversy. The Solidarity logo used in this advertisement is an exclusive and legally protected property of the Union (trademark). It is very possible that actual leaders of „Solidarno??“ will act against this copyright violation.
Surely it is worth to see this case in a wider context. Who owns the history? Can public memory be used in a commercial way? As well as in the matter of historical sport statistics from american baseball league, questions about the range of copyrights in history can be asked. And more – if Domesday Book is a part of the common historical british heritage, why National Archives (financed of the public taxes) asks for money for the access to the digital scans of it? Why photographers from polish Wikipedia can not take photos in Wawel, the famous seat of the polish kings? What with the historical resources?
This topic becomes more and more important, as it is so much easier to use, copy, remix or edit historical resources available on the internet or collected by using digital tools (digital camera). There are also some questions for the future: how to legally collect the internet heritage?