Google Miro Logo A No-No
Today’s Google logo features elements of work by Spanish surrealist Joan Mir to commemorate the artist’s 1893 birth, but an organization representing the artist’s estate exploded in anger over what they called a copyright violation.
Respectful fair use or egregious copyright violation? That seems to be the question in the wake of the kerfuffle over Google’s use of pieces of Mir’s work to pay tribute to the artist.
The Mercury News reported on why the Mir logo vanished from Google. The Artists Rights Society asked Google to delete the logo due to the infringement.
From the article: “There are underlying copyrights to the works of Miro, and they are putting it up without having the rights,” said Theodore Feder, president of Artists Rights Society.
Google told the Mercury News it would take down the logo, but believed it had acted well within rights to do so: “From time to time we create special logos to celebrate people we admire,” the statement said. “Joan Mir made an extraordinary contribution to the world with his art and we want to pay tribute to that.”
So who should be blamed for the problem? Google, which apparently didn’t learn its lesson about Spanish surrealists after having similar difficulties with the Artists Rights Society in 2002 over using Dali’s work? Or Feder et al for taking an immediately hostile attitude with Google instead of sending along a polite note saying, “We appreciate your enthusiasm, but the artist’s work is under copyright, let’s talk about this?”
The real losers here are Google’s multitude of users. It’s safe to say that Mir is not nearly as well-known to the casual Internet user as Dali, whose work has been commercialized more and displayed on far more college dorm walls than Mir’s.
Google probably should have made a phone call first. Feder probably should have been more keen on starting a dialog, at least superficially, before unlimbering the copyright lawsuit threats.
In the article, Feder did note that Google could have emailed a request and received a simple yes or no from the rights holders; if he didn’t, couldn’t Feder have done so himself?
Except for making tons of cash, is anything simple for Google these days?
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.