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. icon
    R. Hammond (profile), 26 Jan 2010 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    @nastybutler77: Neither the aboriginal people nor Harold Thomas can be considered a non-profit group like Red Cross or Amnesty International, so to me your analogy seems ridiculous. Harold Thomas isn't even a group, he is a person. And in both examples you gave, you can bet that Google would ask the permission of the organization to do so. Google asked Harold Thomas and he said no. I really don't see where the outrage comes from.

    Refer to monkytypist's comment above for a clearer explanation of the context and meaning of the flag. As you can probably glean from both the article and the comment, it is not simply about money. You can disagree with Thomas' decision all you want, but this is actually an example of what is good about copyright law, rather than a reason to scoff at it.

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