iMussolini withdrawn following legal threat


(JTA) — The iPhone application featuring a collection of speeches by Benito Mussolini has been withdrawn following legal threats and protests by Jewish groups.

iMussolini, Italy’s best-selling iPhone application, was withdrawn Thursday.

Holocaust survivors had described the application featuring Italy’s World War II fascist dictator as "offensive," according to reports.

The film group Cinecitta Luce, which holds the rights to the films of the Mussolini speeches used in the app, threatened legal action, saying the app did not serve the educational purposes for which the clips were designated.

Luigi Marino, who developed iMussolini, told the BBC he plans to put iMussolini back on the iPhone app download list when the matter is cleared up.

iMussolini, which sold for about $1.10 on the Italian iTunes store, was launched Jan. 21, just days ahead of Italy’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration on Jan. 27.

Subtitled "the man who changed the history of our country," iMussolini topped the iPhone app download list. The app contains audio, video and text of more than 100 speeches dating back to 1914.

Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922. Under his rule, Italy became a close ally of Nazi Germany; Mussolini’s regime introduced harsh anti-Semitic legislation in 1938.

"It is a disgrace and a surrender to crass commercialism that the Apple computing company has approved the release of this ‘app’ through their online iTunes store," Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said last week in a statement. "This is an insult to the memory of all victims of Nazism and Fascism, Jew and non-Jew, and should be condemned for its offense to decency and conscience."

On the iTunes page, Marino wrote that iMussolini was a "history-related application" that "does not celebrate Fascism," as it was simply a collection of original speeches. 

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