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Google had a beautiful logo this morning, which looked like this:


Here at Sunbelt, one person sent a group email wondering what it was.  Someone else explained that it was dedicated to the birthday of Joan Miró.

It is so cool for a company to change their logo to commemorate the birthday of an artist who is not even known to most of the world (yes, he’s famous in art circles, but do you think the average person on the street would know who Joan Miró is?  Well, many do now).

What a good thing Google did today.  A lot of people learned a little more today about art, and a lot of people were introduced to a great artist of this century.  And that, I believe, is a good thing.

Anyway, some guy called Theodore Feder, who runs the Artists Rights Society, demanded that Google take the logo down. According to a story in the Merc (via techdirt):

“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.

So Google complied and yanked the logo.

This begs the question:  If, as an artist, I were to be inspired by the style of Joan Miro, would I suddenly be in trouble?  It seems pretty clear to me that they didn’t steal his art.   (If you want to see what his art looked like, you can click here, or do a Google image search.)  But it just seems to me to be a representation of his art by a Google artist (granted, a very good representation of Joan Miró’s art).

So, is this an abuse of copyright law?  Or is Theodore Feder right?   Did Google go too far? 

What about the benefits of spreading a bit more art and life into an Internet bombarded with crap and incessant ads for cars, dating sites and casinos — while respecting a great artist of our time?

Alex Eckelberry