Family Of Dead Artist Upset By Publicity From Google

from the maybe-they-should-form-a-club-with-the-newspapers dept

Most people probably didn’t wake up this morning intending to read about or look at the work of Spanish artist Joan Miro. But, if they saw Google’s Miro-inspired logo today, commemorating the artist’s birthday, their interest may have been piqued. None of this free publicity seems to be sitting well with the late artist’s family, as they’ve demanded that Google take down the logo, citing copyright violation. Of course, the logo didn’t actually use any of Miro’s work; it only paid homage to his style. Certainly, the family can’t claim a copyright on Miro’s style. If they could, the entire art world would collapse, since almost everything is heavily influenced by the work of others. Google, probably wisely, took down the logo, which only would have run a few more hours. Stories about patents stifling innovation have become pretty common. It’s unfortunate that some are abusing the copyright system to prevent the world from being a more beautiful, visually interesting place.

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Comments on “Family Of Dead Artist Upset By Publicity From Google”

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Jon says:


That has to be one of the most ignorant actions I have ever heard of.

“I represent an artist and I don’t want you giving the artist any free publicity.”

How was Google profiting from the image? Did people all of the sudden start using Google because the Miro art work in the logo? Did Google just make $1,000,000 off of adds on their home page?

Sad is all I can say.

nonuser says:

seems hypersensitive

given that it was a one-day tribute. I hardly know Miro’s work so I can’t say whether Google’s rendering was essentially a collage or was merely inspired by Miro’s style. The former could be deemed an infringement at the discretion of the copyright holder, while the latter is arguably fair use.

By analogy, Charles M. Schulz had a clause written into his contract that nobody could legally create cartoons using Peanuts characters after his death. The thought probably made him sick to his stomach. Although I found the Google/Miro logo tasteful and entertaining, I’m sure the family had the opposite reaction.

Anonymous Coward says:


It seems to me that they are just “sticking it to the man” whereas in this case “the man” = Google. Of course, what they did was stick it to themselves, and the artist they are pretending to “defend”. Without Google, I would have never heard of their “loved one”. From what I care of their publicity stunt, they can stick it up their own ass.

What a society of crybaby-morons we have belched up from our bowels. Grrrrrr!

Someone call my lawyer! I got a paper-cut on my lip when I licked the evelope to my complaint letter to Disney for the fact they needlessly killed “Old Yeller!”

fuzzix (user link) says:

Re: Re:

I saw it last night and figured they were just putting a trippy logo up for 4/20

Thanks for the laugh 🙂

I may not know much about art (but I know what I like), but as far as I can tell the Google logo was a completely original work which at worst may have been derived from small elements of Joan Miró’s art.

This just smacks of the overzealous racketeering which is generally known as “The Estate of…” You all remember that Simpsons episode where Grampa’s dinner table antics with some spuds and forks are quickly quashed with the help of a soulless, humourless lawyer representing The Estate of Charles Chaplin and a pair of hired goons? Yeah…

What was particularly resonant about this scene was the fact that Chaplin was a keen observer of the evils wrought by systems which fell out of the control of the people. To take the two most famous examples… Modern Times depicts the dehumanisation of industrialisation – where some manager on a decent wage gets to dictate every move of men who aren’t compensated nearly as well. The Great Dictator was made at a time when the US sought no involvement in WW2. It exposed the death of the individual that went hand in hand with fascism and it featured one of the greatest motivating speeches I’ve ever heard in a movie – This is no Bill Pullman in Independence Day – it’s actually compelling and moving. If you want to hear it you’ll just have to check it out for yourself 🙂

I know little of Joan Miró but a little research suggests his work stems from a similar spirit of freedom and humanism – for example, shunning categorisation seemed to lead to a greater range of expression in his body of work.

What “I represent The Estate of…” has to do with the spirit and physical presence of either men’s work is beyond my understanding.

Zaphod says:

Miro Miro on the wall

Talk about overreacting. Granted it is the families perogative to speak their mind, it is ridiculous that Google should comply. What the hell has happened to this country. Where are all the nose thumbing, middle finger displaying leaders of industry? I get the impression we are all on the Dr Feel express to freakin candyland where every one wins. I am going to go practise my chinese now. I just hope they have some balls.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Miro Miro on the wall

In my opinion all Google was doing was paying a small respect to someone who made a contribution to society. Since those were the intentions that is why Google should and did take down the link at their request. I am although very sad for the family to take it the way they did. Also by doing this they will get significantly more press then if they just let it go and let most of the world enjoy the deceased’s work.

Zaphod says:

Miro Miro on the wall

Talk about overreacting. Granted, it is the family’s perogative to speak their mind, it seems ridiculous that Google should comply. What the hell has happened to this country. Where are all the nose thumbing, middle finger displaying leaders of industry? I get the impression we are all on the Dr Feel express to freakin candyland where every one wins. I am going to go practice my chinese now. I just hope they have some balls.

Kat says:

I think that it was nice of Google to pay tribute to Miro. I’ve never heard of him before. I also think that the family’s reaction was probably due to a misunderstanding because they though Google was stealing his work. And I also think that Google’s response to this situation was sensitive and practical because I don’t think they sould have made an even bigger deal about it.

Clair Ching (user link) says:


I personally think it was good for Miro’s art to be highlighted by Google this way. People got more curious about Miro.

One thing that bothers me about copyright infringement claims is that even for mash-ups and derivative works or inspired works people make such a big deal. Well, it is difficult to draw the lines. In any case, I think that the logo was tastefully done – and it was mainly inspired not really copied per se.

Hmmm. One could argue that they’re yelling for publicity.

Then again, the thing with law is that there are different interpretations and that could be quite problematic.

Forge (user link) says:

Complaining in a grab for more publicity? Absolute

I saw the Miro logo, thought it was mildly interesting, and clicked. I skimmed the linked article, found nothing incredibly interesting or entertaining, and went on about my day. This pedantic CRAP from the estate has now more than doubled the Miro face time in my head. However, it has also forever stained the name with greed for me.

Additional publicity? Why do you think they waited till the day was almost over? Run the ad for ~24 hours, then grab headlines with a cease-and-desist for 24 more! Step 4: PROFIT!!!!

thtfckzmeoff says:

bloodsucking scum

Copyright my left ball! Miro’s family don’t give a f**k about copyright; however they do give a f**k about the revenue to be earned by owning a copyright.

I think it’s sad that when someone (in this instance, Google), makes an attempt to remember/celebrate someone’s life, that there are oftentimes those who simply see their “loved one’s” death in terms of potential dollars earned. I say f**k those who cry “copyright! [give me money!] copyright! [give me money!]”.

I’m off to make a Miro Tribute site…

throbi says:

You just can't chose your relatives, can you?

It’s very sad when the “loved ones” only see the inherited copyrigths as a source of income. It’s not moral, while they did nothing in order to earn that. They just got lucky to be born on the right family tree. However, there are so many cases when greedy relatives holders bury valuable art under the copyright. I’m just sick of them.

As for the other side of the coin, I never heard of Miró before. The Google logo inspired me to learn more about him, and voila, I’ve found out that the Woman and Bird statue in Barcelona – which I know and – is Miró’s work!

Bob says:


I enjoy the random google logo swaps to commemorate special people or days. I thought he Louis Braille birthday logo very cool. And on Salvador Dali’s b-day, they did a nice one too. This Miro one was done in his style, to honor and expose his artisitc contribution. I seriously wonder if the family, now realizing this is ashamed or bummed that they overreacted. Google ALWAYS puts up special logos and I hope they continue this tradition. It’s great.

PJ Brunet (user link) says:


The issue here is that this sort of “advertising” does nothing for Miro’s reputation, but it does help Google look like a creative, sensitive, fun company. Face it, Miro is more fun and colorful than Google. Artists get used like this, every day. Artists keep this world from destroying itself. Artists save this world every day from monotony. What gratitude is there for their suffering and starvation?

Why doesn’t Google commission a contemporary artist to paint something reverently referencing Miro? Google is too cheap, lazy, and insensitive to do something like that.

Miro’s reputation was established long ago. To suggest that Miro somehow needs Google is simply stupid.

Sam says:

>there is another way to look at it –

>that by Google using this artist’s

>style in the creation of their logo

>and then linking to Joan Miro’s pages –

>it could give the impression to many

>others that Google was indorsing Joan

>Miro’s work… or that Joan Miro was

>endorsing Google.

Are you stupid or just naive. That’s not even a reasonable stretch of this situation. This is clearly a case of Google honoring the life of another and their greedy selfish family getting upset. Google seems to care more about the achievements of this man than the artists family.

John says:

Let them sue

Sadly, the heirs of Miro have no sense of humor. Fine, they don’t have to agree or condone what Google did in choosing to pay tribute to an admittedly lesser-known artist. On the other hand, it was fair use, so I say let the family sue. That way we really find out just how serious they are. Of course, by the time the case gets anywhere, Miro will have been returned to cold storage …

where he belongs.

Maybe next year Google will honor stoners and their “420” myth. Duuuude!

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