Oct 31, 2013

Zaire (1971-1997)

Between 1971 and 1997, the Democratic Republic of Congo was renamed to "Zaire" and under the rule of Mobutu Sese Seko, suffered an attempt of "re-africanization".

Politics apart, the flag of Zaire was very nice:

Initially, a noteworthy point is the creative use of the Pan-African colors (red, green and yellow), dissonant in relation to the more abstract and generic depictions. The color palette is completed with brown, what's very understandable considering the ideal of "African" Zaire. This color is rarely found on vexillology, as well as the lighter shade of green used on the background.

The central charge is also very well-thought. On a green background that symbolizes the hope and confidence of the people, there's a golden disc, whose shape represents unity and whose color remembers the natural wealth of the country. In the center of it, the arm of an African man holding a torch, representing the revolution, with a red flame, whose color stands for the blood of the martyrs.

This is a very beautiful piece of graphic art, specially on more stylized depictions like the one above. The flag goes direct to the point of the Mobutu's ideology, without making it overcharged or cryptic, and without a single word being used. Point to the designer!

Comments are welcome!

Please, avoid the political discussion. This is a post about sole vexillology.
It's the 50th post of the blog. I'd like to thank all the readers!

Oct 17, 2013

The "Estelada"

One news [text in Spanish] that called my attention this week was the announcement that a Spanish businessman, called José Antonio Blázquez, "copyrighted" the "estelada", a variant of the flag of the Catalonia, the senyera.

While the common senyera is simply nine-striped yellow and red, the estelada (in Catalan, "starred") has a blue triangle with a white star on the hoist:

This variant of Catalonia flag is used by independentists. Initially, it was supposed that the businessman, that labels himself "Spanish and anti-indepentist", would register the flag only to forbid its use without authorization (that he supposedly won't give), but it's now known that he made it only for the financial exploitation of flag's usage.

My personal opinion, supported by some specialists [text in Spanish] is that the flag couldn't be copyrighted, in legal sense. The businessman claims that a unofficial flag isn't protected for copyright, but it's certainly not the case: a well-known work in public domain can't be copyrighted, because it's considered an usurpation. One could argue that the flag is too simple to be registered, but it's debatable. The specialists predict that the registry will be annulled as soon as disputed and mr. Blázquez won't gain any money for his action.

I believe that the only flags that can be copyrighted are those that contain a copyrightable content (like a logo or an armorial bearing) or other types of unofficial flags (like commemorative flags, for example) that required a considerable level of originality and design knowledge.

What's your opinion about flag copyright? Your comments are welcome.