A French Facebook user has taken the social media giant to court after his account was closed down after he posted an image of Courbet’s controversial painting ‘L’Origine du Monde’ 1866. According to Le Figaro, the world-famous oil-on-canvas was part of a promo for an art history video about the artwork, broadcast by the highbrow TV channel Arte.
The case has been ongoing since 2011. Now Paris’s civil court is expected to give its decision on March 5, 2015.
The plaintiff, a Parisian schoolteacher has been described by his solicitor Stéphane Cottineau as “a decent man, cultivated, and attached to the transmission of knowledge,” is seeking the reactivation of his Facebook account as well as €20,000, or £149,000 in damages.
On Thursday, Facebook asked Paris’s civil court to declare that it lacks jurisdiction over the case. The American giant’s argument is that, by opening an account, every Facebook user agrees any dispute will be taken to court in California, home to the company’s headquarters.
Facebook’s solicitor Caroline Lyannaz has argued that that French consumer laws don’t apply to Facebook as the service is free of charge and use of the social network is voluntary.
But the plaintiff’s solicitor Cottineau described Facebook’s clause as “abusive.” “Following your logic,” he said, “none of France’s 22 million Facebook users will ever be able to go to a French court should a disagreement occur.”
Facebook has a strict no-nudity policy, as with many social media sites. The painting was originally commissioned by an Ottoman diplomat, Khalil Bey, and once owned by psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, Courbet’s painting appears as controversial as it was a century and a half ago. In February of last year, a group of philatelists was denied the request to have it printed on postal stamps.
See Artlyst’s Top Ten Erotic Works Of Art – to see where we place Gustave Courbet’s ‘The Origin of the World’ – here