Google Prevented From Using Australian Aboriginal Flag Because It's Covered By Copyright

from the who-copyrights-a-flag? dept

A whole bunch of folks have been sending in the news of Google needing to edit out the Aboriginal flag that was originally a part of an Australia Day Google logo. Google had apparently run a contest for a logo and an 11-year-old girl had won, after designing the logo, using various animals native to Australia, with the Aboriginal flag behind one of the "O"s. But when the logo went up on the site, it was missing the flag:
It wasn't a case of Google being insensitive. It was a case of Google being forced to remove it because, believe it or not, the Australian Aboriginal flag is covered by copyright, and the copyright holder wouldn't let Google use it because the company had asked if it could use it for free. It's hard to fathom why anyone would ever want a flag covered by copyright (do we need more incentives to create new flags?). The report notes that the artist "designed the flag as a symbol of unity and national identity" in the 1970s, but apparently that unity and identity doesn't extend to anyone else actually displaying the flag without paying for it.

Filed Under: aboriginal, australia, copyright, flags
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    R. Hammond, 26 Jan 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re:

    @nastybutler77: You're welcome, I'm glad you appreciate discussion. But your idea of exploitation seems to be based on degree, that there's a line that one crosses and suddenly there's exploitation. Any time someone's product is taken away from them and used by another party for commercial gain, they're being exploited. Google is a commercial entity (and yes, all these little actions such as cute Google logos add up to their success), and they apparently proposed initially that they take this artist's product without compensation. That would be exploitation.

    I'm not suggesting that Google is a menace or some neo-colonial power, though they certainly could've been more tactful it seems. I am expressing a viewpoint that may have been taken by the artist, who as an aboriginal, is acutely aware of the history of exploitation of his people. He may have seen Google's expectation of using his work for free or on the cheap as an extension of that history.

    Of course, it's an assumption, but so is the idea that he's just a greedy artist trying to get money. We don't really know the whole truth from the articles, I'm just offering an alternate view.

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