Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Google Violates Miro's Copyright? 651

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
Anonymous Coward writes "In a homage to Joan Miro on his birthday, Google changed its logo as to spell out the word "Google" in Miro's style. Google has a history of changing its logo in order to commemorate events and holidays of particular significance. In this case, the homage was not well received by the Miro family or the Artists Rights Society which represents them, as reported by the Mercury News. According to Theodore Feder, president of the ARS, "There are underlying copyrights to the works of Miro, and they are putting it up without having the rights". The ARS demanded that Google removed the logo, and Google complied, though not without adding that it did not believe it was in violation of copyright. The ARS has raised similar complaints regarding Google's tribute to Salvador Dali in 2002. "It's a distortion of the original works and in that respect it violates the moral rights of the artist," Feder said." It seems to me that the art world has a glorious history of incorporating prior art into modern creations. It's amusing to me that ARS doesn't understand that.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Violates Miro's Copyright?

Comments Filter:
  • by layer3switch (783864) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:23AM (#15184524)
    ARS-holes

    There you have it.
    • Indeed. In addition - could the Google logo be considered a parody? IIRC, you can make parodies without infringing on copyrights. Weird Al does this a lot, though I get the impression that he does ask first out of courtesy. I think the paridy factor is the whole reason Coolio is unable to take action against Weird Al for Amish Paradase (a parody of Gangsta's Paradise that Weird Al claims he got permission from the record company to do, but Coolio claims he never gave permission).
      • by Mr Z (6791) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:57AM (#15184950) Homepage Journal

        I wouldn't say it's a parody, but rather a homage. That said, unless they incorporated his art directly, I don't see how copyright applies. You can't copyright a style. If Google's logo was incorporating art that wasn't Google's, they either need to license it or make a case for "fair use."

        --Joe
        • by gaijin99 (143693) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @12:07PM (#15185004) Journal
          Agree. Copyright covers a specific arrangement of words, or a specific image. An image that is similar to a copyrighted image is not a copyright violation.

          Now, maybe if his family had patented his artistic style they could claim Google violated their patent. Hmmm... I wonder if I could patent an artistic style and exploit the US patent system for my own profit. To heck with business model patents, can you imagine owning the patent for slasher flicks?
          • U.S. Patent 123,456,789: "Method for incorporating a teenage girl in a shower in a horror movie."
            U.S. Patent 123,456,788: "Method for killing off annoying characters first."
            U.S. Patent 123,456,787: "Method for splitting up and covering more ground this way (and sending that fat kid into the basement by himself)."

            I can feel the money rolling in already.
          • by JacksBrokenCode (921041) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @05:32PM (#15186369)
            From TFA, "Google's logo allegedly incorporated images from Miro's "The Escape Ladder," 1940, "Nocture," 1940, and "The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers," 1941."

            Having looked at The Escape Ladder [masterwork...allery.com], Nocturne [artchive.com], and The Beautiful Bird... [csulb.edu], I don't see where they "incorporated images" directly from any of these paintings. Certainly the style is the same, but that is the purpose of the tribute.

            The sad part is I'd never heard of Miro before and usually enjoy learning from the little sporadic tidbits Google provides. It would be a shame if Google decided to stop including artists because ARS is over-protective. I could understand their point if Google was trying to profit from using Miro's art in any way, but it just seems to be a fun way to raise awareness.

            Does anyone else find it ironic that you can't buy advertising on Google's front-page and people who get some free publicity on one of the most-visited pages on the 'net are complaining.

      • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @01:41PM (#15185436) Homepage
        Parody isn't a legal exception to copyright in all jurisdictions (e.g. Canada), sadly.
      • The difference is that Weird Al clearly made a parody while this logo doesn't have anything funny about it.
        • The difference is that Weird Al clearly made a parody while this logo doesn't have anything funny about it.

          Being funny is not a requisite condition of parody. The term is broad enough that it covers many different forms of appropriating style or content, for a variety of purposes.

      • by linvir (970218) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @02:11PM (#15185579)
        No, Google were obviously trying to masquerade their logo as official work of Joan Miró in order to trick his devoted fans into using their search service. It's the only possible explanation, and it's only right that they be stopped!
      • Weird Al vs Coolio (Score:3, Informative)

        by John Straffin (902430)
        From http://www.al-oholicsanonymous.com/faq/#coolio [al-oholicsanonymous.com]:

        9. What's the beef with Coolio?

        Added: 8/12/03

        The story goes like this. Al wanted to do a parody of Coolio's 'Gangstas Paradise' called "Amish Paradise". He tells his record label to get permission. They do. Al records and releases the song. Coolio then hears the song and says he never gave permission for it and wasn't happy about it. Al figures there was a communications breakdown somewhere and sends Coolio a public and sincere apology for the mixup
      • I think the parody factor is the whole reason Coolio is unable to take action against Weird Al for Amish Paradise

        Man oh man, that's a knee-slapper if I ever heard one. Does anybody remember that Gangsta's Paradise is a straight out rip-off of Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise, from the 1975 album Songs In The Key Of Life? I mean, to what absurd lengths can these people go in believing their own hype and revisionist history?

        The lack of originality in pseudo-musicians gunning for the Top Forty is a sight to
    • by Alystair (617164) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:57AM (#15184953)
      You know it's personal when they submit an email address in the content of a slashdot article ;)
      • by nihaopaul (782885) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @01:52PM (#15185483) Homepage
        Dear Theodore Feder,

        I am disappointed in your act towards google in the tribute they done for miro, in-fact i wasn't aware who miro was until i saw the tribute and done some research, its people like you and companies like yours that shame artists like those. i hope you can sleep at night knowing that you had the chance to help educate millions of people, but took it away with one FOUL swoop.

        sux2bu(TM)

        Paul

        _Legal Notes_
        sux2bu(TM) is a trademark of nihaopaul, reproduction, use or storage of sux2bu(TM) without prior written consent will result in a banana being shoved up your arse by a family member. by reading this digital transmission you agree to comply with these terms set forth
  • by IntelliAdmin (941633) * on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:24AM (#15184526) Homepage
    I doubt any of the original artists would have a problem with it. It seems that it is family's that are interested in the financial gain from complaining to Google about it. This tiny excerpt from the article explains it all: "In September, the Authors Guild sued Google for reproducing works..." Come on! The Google symbol in the likeness of an artist is honoring them. It would only help increase the value's of their works, and peoples awareness of them. They just see Google as a big money pit they can take from.
    • by baptiste (256004) <{su.etsitpab} {ta} {ekim}> on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:38AM (#15184592) Homepage Journal
      It is so sad when people try to do something nice (i.e. a tribute) only to be smacked down by money hungry trusts and estates who have no concept of the greater good. I think Google's logo art is an awesome thing. They gain nothing from it, yet it raises awareness of people, places, and causes. I'm all for copyrights and trademark protection when it comes to trying to protect an authors original work, but come on. A tribute that would stay up 1-2 days honoring the artist and they make this big a deal over it? Sigh - this world gets more screwed up by the day
      • The funny part (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sterno (16320) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @01:58PM (#15185518) Homepage
        What's totally hilarious about this is what ultimately the google logo thing brings more attention to the artist's work. You go to google one day, the logo looks funky, and you wonder why. So you click the logo and are now finding out all about Miro, etc.

        Not only is this not any obvious violation of copyright law, but IT HELPS THEM. It's free freaking advertising for the artist and presumably could lead to better returns on sales of the art, etc. Whiners.
      • by john82 (68332) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @03:28PM (#15185907)
        "In other news, a New York law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against the estate of Spanish surrealist artist Joan Miro and a group calling itself the Artists Rights Society. The suit was filed on behalf of millions of seven to nine year old children world wide. The firm, Dewey, Cheatham & Howe, claim that numerous pieces by the late artist infringe on the implied copyrighted works of elementary school children who, owing to their age, have been by and large drawing in a flat linear style mimiced by Miro. In filing the suite, DCH released a statement saying that Miro had knowingly been copying the works of children for years without proper attribution or remuneration."
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:44AM (#15184899) Homepage
      All of the out and out WHORING of this fantasy called "intellectual property" is done by the family members and rarely if ever done by the real artists (tools like Metallica as the exception here)

      Look at Yoko Ono, she is wringing the Jhon Lennon Rock dry getting every last drop of blood out of it, and this is the Modus Operandi of almost every single artists family that recieves the goldmine that was their parent's or Spouses. One of the biggest to do this was the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. She demanded money from every photo of him or fil clip of him shwon anywhere, now that she is gone the feeding frenzy will probably go into overtime with the family.

      This is why copyrights need a solid HARD limit that aftera short X years of the death of the creator all of it goes into public domain and free tomatoes get passed out to the public to pelt the family that was whoring the creativity of the artist or person...

      Ok that last part is probably not going to fly but it would be a detterent.

      ARS = spoiled brats that really need to have it all taken away from them and made to sit in a corner until they can come out and play with everyone else in society nicely.
      • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@gma i l . c om> on Sunday April 23, 2006 @12:44PM (#15185174)
        This is why copyrights need a solid HARD limit that aftera short X years of the death of the creator all of it goes into public domain and free tomatoes get passed out to the public to pelt the family that was whoring the creativity of the artist or person...

        There is no justifiable reason whatsoever for copyright to last a second past the creator's death.

        Copyright - if it must exist at all - is fundamentally an economic tool (it exists for no other reason than to artificially restrict information to increase its scarcity, and hence value) and as such should have its terms tied to the economic success (or lack thereof) of the protected work. Copyright terms need to be linked to "return on investment" for the system to work in the modern world.

        Successful work -> copyright expires quickly -> creator has to generate more works to keep the money flowing -> higher net benefit to society.

        • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @01:08PM (#15185283) Journal
          There is no justifiable reason whatsoever for copyright to last a second past the creator's death.

          If that were the case I'd start looking over my shoulder if I came up with something really popular.

        • by blibbler (15793) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @01:26PM (#15185369)
          > There is no justifiable reason whatsoever for copyright to last a second past the creator's death

          How about the situation:
          company x wants to make a book based on novel by author Y. Y refuses, company X kills Y. Should company X be able to make a movie without any access rights issues? (This is not an unheard of situation)
          What about Author z wishes to provide for Zs family, so writes a book on deathbed. should this book become public domain when Z dies? It would defeat the purpose of Zs actions (this is also not an unheard of situation)

          Companies and organizations can hold copyright. Generally this copyright is held for a fixed period of years (as companies do not have to "die"). Should companies' copyrights be protected more than humans (whose copyrights would expire when they die?

          > Successful work -> copyright expires quickly -> creator has to generate more works to keep the money flowing -> higher net benefit to society.

          How do you propose to measure success? Very few movies ever show a profit. This is not because they don't make money for the studio, but because it makes tax sense to calculate it that way. Many of the wealthiest people in the world pay less income tax than a regular person earning $50,000. It isn't because they are not earning an income, but because they can pay very creative accountants. Income is a lot simpler to measure than "economic success".
      • I think there are valid legal reasons for making the maximum copyright term equal to the life of the author plus (either) eighteen or twenty-one years. In Common Law, it used to be a fairly strict rule that you couldn't create a legal instrument relating to real property (so a deed, covenant, trust, etc.) with a term of more than the life of someone alive at the time of creation plus 21 years. The idea being that this way you couldn't have basically 'landed gentry,' who had perpetual and un-dissolvable prop
    • by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:59AM (#15184956) Homepage
      This is an example of why (IMHO) copyrights should immediately expire along with the creator (unless they have a dependent child or spouse, in which case they'd last a fixed term, as the law was originally written). This whole doctrine that works of art should provide financial support to the grown children of the creator is wrong-headed, and the notion that these property heirs and their children and grandchildren should have creative control over these works is absurd.

      Copyright-enforced royalties should be a kind of pension for creators, offering some financial security to people who've spent their lives creating works of art (visual, literary, musical, etc). Retirement pensions don't keep paying out after someone dies (except to a surviving spouse), because the person who earned them no longer needs them. Likewise, when I die, why should my sisters or my nieces and nephew start getting money from the things I've created? And more importantly, why should they have the right to authorize what's done with copies of them?

      I'm a staunch supporter of copyright in principle - people who indiscriminately "share" tunez, warez, and videoz with strangers on the net can go suck on a shotgun as far as I'm concerned - but I think copyright has been hammered and stretched and twisted over the course of the past century into some kind of hereditary entitlement and corporate welfare scheme. Maybe if modern copyright law weren't so obviously aimed at giving money to people who didn't earn it, it'd be easier to persuade people to respect it.

      • Copyright-enforced royalties should be a kind of pension for creators, offering some financial security to people who've spent their lives creating works of art (visual, literary, musical, etc).

        I'm sorry, but what? No one, in any business except the one of copyrighted works, gets to derive a pension from work they have done earlier. As a matter of fact, copyrighted works are the only legal construct that allows someone to derive income from something that has not only been sold, resold and sold again, but

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The artists, or their shareholders.

    Either way, they can kiss my ARS.
  • by koweja (922288) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:24AM (#15184528)
    Is it possible that the visual art world is more interested in money than art and expression? I can't believe it.
    • Re:Could it be? (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well, the art world like everyone else is trying to make a living off their trade. In this case, like most others of its ilk, it's a family who never contributed one ounce of effort who are trying to make a buck off of a dead relative.

      That is the nature of capitalism.
      • Re:Could it be? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @12:10PM (#15185015) Homepage
        ...it's a family who never contributed one ounce of effort who are trying to make a buck off of a dead relative. That is the nature of capitalism.

        Don't blame capitalism for this. (Capitalism has enough on its head.) This absurdity is based on ye olde principle of hereditary property and privilege, which easily pre-dates the whole mercantile economic system that capitalism is based on. And capitalism would work just fine (arguably much better) without it.

  • by unity100 (970058) * on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:24AM (#15184530) Homepage Journal
    Well, it seems that after some 50 years or so, we wont be able to use any shape, image, saying, metaphor or the like without consulting an intellectual property expert and acquiring appropriate rights, the way things going.
    • by Intron (870560) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:34AM (#15184566)
      To whom it may concern,

      Your use of colored rectanglular windows violates the copyrights of the Mondrian estate. Please refrain from any use of colored rectangles on your site in the future. If you wish to consider licensing the use of these images, the per-rectangle license is quite reasonable. Please contact us at the address listed.

      Thank you
    • i see the point that's trying to be made BUT have to make a quick counter point.

      google did not just happen to make a logo that looked like miro's style and use it. your comment implies to me that(though exagerated) every idea, shape, color, etc will be taken and one would have to dig deep to make sure that your 'fresh' idea is not too similar to an old one.

      instead good DID look at miro's work and made an effort to emulate that work in their logo, though they were giving homage the made an effort to copy.
      • btw i also think that this is ok as long as there is no financial reward from this copy

        Does it matter whether or not there was financial reward? As long as the work wasn't presented as the artist's and only in the artist's style, what standing do they have?

        The recent Dan Brown suit would probably be precedent supporting Google.
      • by kfg (145172) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:26AM (#15184826)
        . . .google did not just happen to make a logo that looked like miro's style and use it.

        "Style" is not something that can be copyrighted. Only works can be copyrighted.

        See ragtime, blues, jazz, boogie woogie, rock & roll, etc., as opposed to Maple Leaf Rag, Sweet Home Chicago, Take Five, Roll 'em Pete and Purple Haze.

        The former are styles, the latter are works. You can copyright Take Five. You cannot copyright 5/4 time.

        In fact, the Google logo was their own creative work that they own the copyright on. It was just in emulation of Miro's style, not a copy of one of his works.

        The claim of any "moral" rights is so assinine I almost don't know what to say about it. The law does not recognize "moral" rights. It grants a monopoly on copying and may impose monetary recompense against losses incured by such copying. Without the law the artist has absolutely no rights whatsoever, except maybe to be a dickhead.

        And I wonder just what sort of monetary losses the Miro heirs feel they have suffered by Google making an original work in tribute to Miro?

        KFG
        • Moral rights (Score:3, Informative)

          by alexo (9335)

          > The claim of any "moral" rights is so assinine I almost don't know what to say about it.
          > The law does not recognize "moral" rights.


          Doesn't it? [harvard.edu]
    • by vortex2.71 (802986) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:46AM (#15184636)
      Dear Unity100,

      As the legal representative of "PatentRight" a conglomerate of over fifty major multinational companies that have organized to protect their joint legal rights against patent and copyright violation, we hereby inform you that your April 23, 2006 posting to Slashdot (http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] is in violation of five of our clients patent and copyright holdings. Please remove your post immediately: "Well, it seems that after some 50 years or so, we wont be able to use any shape, image, saying, metaphor or the like without consulting an intellectual property expert and acquiring appropriate rights, the way things going." Violations include:

      1) The use of "Well" in this context is owned by the American Groundwater Corporation.
      2) Bicentenial Celebrations Inc. owns a copyright for the use of "50 years".
      3) While "shape, image, saying, metaphor" is not explicitly governed by previous copyright or patent filings, SISM (Systemically Integrated Seismology Measurments, LLC) does own rights to the SISM acronym and has the legal right to slogans which attempt to infringe on this acronym.
      4) Several patent law firms are currently in arbitration to decide the legal owners of "Intellectual Property Experts" and your use of this phrase here will not be tolerated.
      5) "apropriate rights" is held by Planned Parenthood.
    • Well, it seems that after some 50 years or so, we wont be able to use any shape, image, saying, metaphor or the like without consulting an intellectual property expert and acquiring appropriate rights, the way things going.

      That's unfettered free market libertarianism for you: feudalism in disguise. swear fealty to your corporate masters. they believe in the common good, it's just that they measure "common" with dollars.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:28AM (#15184539)
    It seems to me that the art world has a glorious history of incorporating prior art into modern creations. It's amusing to me that ARS doesn't understand that.

    It's not that they don't understand, it's more that they're trying very hard to make everybody else forget that fact. They, as well as certain **AAs, behave like rabid dogs protecting their food, so that they have grounds to claim money for the use of this or that piece of art whenever possible and not be contested.
  • spotlight (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gravesb (967413) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:28AM (#15184540) Homepage
    Since I had never heard of the artist until Google used an interpretation of her art as its logo, this seems like it would be a good thing for artists. I have never understood the knee jerk reaction to anything that could possibly be explotive. Its just free publicity in this case, and you would think the family would see that.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:31AM (#15184549)
      I had never heard of the artist until Google used an interpretation of her art

      It doesn't look like your knowledge of Miro has improved much since Google educated you.

      Miro is a man...
    • Re:spotlight (Score:5, Informative)

      by east coast (590680) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:35AM (#15184574)
      Joan is a he not a she.

      But I agree. How much value, both monetary and artistically, did Miro's work lose over this? None is my guess, frankly. While I do support the right to the works of Miro by the current copyright owners I can't see how a simple logo can distort the value of the original works. Although I will say it did make the point as I knew immediately that it was meant to represent Miro when I had seen it on Google originally.
      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Mir%C3%B3 [wikipedia.org]

        Mir%C3%B3 was a Spaniard & the Europeans have a very expansive view of what constitutes "moral rights" for an artist.

        However, the Artists Rights Society is a U.S.A. organization & U.S. law doesn't really support the position they're taking.

        If I was Google, I wouldn't f*ck with ARS though, according to the ARS website [arsny.com], ARS is "a member of CISAC (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Auteurs et Compositeurs), the Paris-based, umbrell
  • I thought it was a fine tribute to a great artist. The estate should be honored.
  • PR (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:30AM (#15184545)
    How many people wouldn't have encountered Miro's work if they hadn't seen it on Google's site? Now how many of those people wouldn't have known who's work it was had ARS not filed a complaint with Google. While their complaint seems semi-valid (though, personally, I doubt it would have held up in court), it seems that in effect this ends up being a big PR move. We now have lots of people who weren't familiar with Miro's work, who now recognize it because of the complaint.
  • Moral Rights (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:30AM (#15184548) Journal
    "It's a distortion of the original works and in that respect it violates the moral rights of the artist,"
    That struck me as a very European viewpoint. However, I went to google and found out that the U.S.A. has similar thoughts (and laws) on the matter.

    I can't vouch for this particular article, but similar information shows up on other sites. http://www.carolinaarts.com/902fenno.html [carolinaarts.com]
    Many European countries have long recognized artists' personal or "moral" rights in their works of art. Among these rights are the rights of "integrity" (the right to prevent distortion or mutilation of an author's work) and "attribution" (the right of the author to be recognized as the author). These "moral" rights (termed "droit moral" in Europe) spring from a belief that an artist in the process of creation injects his or her spirit into the work. Moral rights are intended to protect the honor and reputation of the artist.

    In 1990, Congress enacted the "Visual Artists' Rights Act" (the "Act") to provide protection for artists' moral rights in selected categories of works of art in the United States. The Act is limited in scope, protecting only works of "visual art" that are created on or after June 1, 1991. [Insert what is and isn't protected]

    Subject to "fair use" rights and other limitations, the Act provides the author of a work of visual art the right to:

    • Prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation;
    • Prevent any intentional or grossly negligent destruction of a work of recognized stature;
    • Claim authorship of the work;
    • Prevent the use of his or her name as the author of any work of visual art that (s)he did not create; and
    • Prevent the use of his or her name as the author of the work of visual art in the event of a distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the work that would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation.
    ...
    Since moral rights are intended to protect the honor and reputation of the artist, the Act only protects the rights for the lifetime of the artist. ...
    • Since the artist died in 1983, it's a safe bet that the US law doesn't apply. It's also interesting that using an artist's *style* or tiny elements of their works is "mutilation" under the moral rights thinking. Is painting the next patent office? "I draw nothing but circles and rectangles and your ovals and rhombuses are mutilations of my work!" Good fucking god.
  • ... what is sadder: the fact that this idiot Theodore Feder thinks such a tribute really _is_ a violation of copyright, or the fact that none of the other artists (especially the popular ones these days) have spoken up about this (too early in Miro's case, but did anybody jump to Google's defense in the Dali case?).

  • Why would they care? Google has a very small user base, I doubt anyone saw it...
  • This clearly falls into what should be considered acceptable fair use.

    The lawyers have taken over the country ( world ) and are even more dangerous then the government(s) they are manipulating.
  • by Matt Perry (793115) <(perry.matt54) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:35AM (#15184572)
    According to Theodore Feder, president of the ARS, "There are underlying copyrights to the works of Miro, and they are putting it up without having the rights"
    He's thinking of patents. Copyrights only cover a specific creation of a work. If Google's work was created entirely by them then there's no legal issue here, no matter what ARS thinks. Feder needs to talk to a lawyer before making public statements like that. It only makes him look woefully ignorant of the law (and greedy at the same time).
  • by Peyna (14792) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:35AM (#15184576) Homepage
    Moral rights in copyrighted works are pretty slim in the US if existent at all. We're supposed to have them as a condition to signing a treaty, but for the most part we really don't. Anything that comes up looking like moral rights ends up being weasled through the Lanham Act rather than copyright law.
  • Fair use? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vidarlo (134906) <vidarlo@nOSpaM.bitsex.net> on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:36AM (#15184579) Homepage
    I thought there was something named fair use? Which translated into common sense?

    This sounds like complete crap. Such an logo will increase peoples knowledge about the artist, and thus increase the popularity of the artist, and make images more worth. I doubt anyone would tear down their Miro paintings and put up a print of the google logo instead...

    The copyright holders should see that google links this to a search on the artist, which probably generates more knowledge about the artist, and more interest for his works. I'd guess there where firms that would pay millions to have their style on the google logo, and a link from the logo to a search of their company name...

  • ARS = stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lazy Jones (8403) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:37AM (#15184589) Homepage Journal
    Google's use of Miró's style was a tribute to his art and most likely got millions of users interested in his works and his life. Even if pathetic organizations like ARS are only really interested in raking in the money made from dead artists' works (and not in the honor of the artists, apparently), they should understand that this helps even them make more money.

    But kudos to ARS for reminding us that Miró is dead and all the money made from his works goes to some greedy people who have contributed nothing. Miró himself donated many of his works in the hope that he would not be forgotten, but apparently ARS sees no value in keeping that spirit alive. They'd rather have people forget about him than allow anyone to use his "copyrighted" (by them) style for free.

  • Dont even put the word google on there at all, in any font as a protest..

    But i am sure somone has copyrighted 'blank space'

    The world has gone nuts, and i want off the ride.
  • money! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by itzdandy (183397) <dandenson@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:40AM (#15184611) Homepage
    this is nothing more than selfishness at work!(ok, maybe some greed!)

    paying respect to a dead artist is perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged! this has been happening for 'EVER' and many many many of the most famous artists are only famous now because their work has been emulated and now integrated into modern culture.

    no exploitation is happening here, just good ol' respect!
  • Sheesh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tedgyz (515156) * on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:40AM (#15184612) Homepage
    "Lighten up Francis!"

    The stupid ARS should be happy Miro got all that attention. What exactly do they expect? I guess we can add ARS to the same list as RIAA and MPAA - self-defeating, money-grubbing idiots.
  • No problemo. Google will be happy to let unknown artists fall into complete obscurity and stop its laudable attempt to educate its millions of daily users about art history.
  • by bcarl314 (804900) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:53AM (#15184681)
    Come on. Maybe I'm a little old fashioned (I am over 20) but I would certainly consider having google make a rendition of my work to (assumedly) celebrate my birthday (or other event) an honor. But I guess if your an "artist" going for the "I'm poor, struggling and not recognized for my talent" approach, this could be devestating to your "morals".

    If google really wanted to get all pissy about this, they should just laugh and say "ha ha" it's a parody on your art work and therefore protected! Ha ha you're a funny artist!
  • by fuzzy12345 (745891) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:00AM (#15184714)
    When Google did its homage to the Winter Olympics, it did a bunch of winter sports, rather than the perhaps more obvious trick of rearranging the five rounded letters in its name into the Olympic Rings logo. I wonder why?

    The obvious conclusion is that Google knows which IP holders not to mess with, and which ones it can probably mess with.

    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday April 23, 2006 @12:48PM (#15185197)
      The obvious conclusion is that Google knows which IP holders not to mess with, and which ones it can probably mess with.
      And the less obvious, but also less stupid, conclusion is that copyright law is different from trademark law.

      In other words, the organization that owns the Olympics logo would have had a legitimate complaint, while the ARS most emphatically does not.
  • ARS is for ARSloch (Score:5, Informative)

    by iggymanz (596061) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:07AM (#15184742)
    Joan Miro himself borrowed and altered some things from other surrealists. Everyone write to president Dr. Theodore Feder at

    Artists Rights Society
    536 Broadway, 5th Floor
    (at Spring St.)
    New York, NY 10012
    Tel: 212-420-9160
    Fax: 212-420-9286

    or drop him a line at tfeder AT arsny DOT com

    • You shit out a picture and you and your family own it or anything like it for enternity? Bullshit. One more reason I don't feel bad about copy-right infringement. They cry that no art will be produced without pay...I say this is a blatant lie. There are countless artists out there struggling to be seen. Many produce their works with no expectation of payment.

  • by thewiz (24994) * on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:13AM (#15184764)
    1. Google puts up company logo in the artistic style of Joan Miro to honor him.
    2. Miros and ARS family tells Google to take it down as it is violating copyrights.
    3. The net says "WTF?"
    4. Profits from publicity? (NOT)

    Shouldn't it be:

    1. Google puts up company logo in the artistic style of Joan Miro to honor him.
    2. Web surfers Google "Joan Miro".
    3. More people find they like his art and buy some.
    4. Profit goes to his family and everyone's happy.

    Sounds like they are being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
  • by lancejjj (924211) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:13AM (#15184765) Homepage
    Admittedly, I was never much into the arts as a kid. But last week I noticed the Google logo and was interested in what or who Google was celebrating.

    I clicked on the link and learned all about Joan Miro and his art. After that initial click I become more interested and did some additional research above and beyond what Google offered.

    If Google lifted actual elements of Miro's work, then yeah, I'd say it could be a copyright problem. But it's likely a problem that could be easily solved completely in private and without public beratement.

    I'd be surprised if the recognition of Miro on Google doesn't result in substaintial financial gains for Miro's license holders, and I'd be shocked if the Miro family approved the public berating of Google by what appears to be a politically inept ARS president, Theodore Feder.

  • Copyright is not a moral right. Copyright is not a natural right. Copyright is not a human right.

    Copyright is a capitalist construct that was created to provide an incentive to
    create artistic works.
  • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:42AM (#15184891)
    I'm...speechless.

    Let's get this straight.

    *The* most popular search engine in the world, with billions of hits per day, puts *your* work on its front page.

    Billions of people who've never heard of you before will now find out about you.

    And you say...

    "TAKE IT DOWN AT ONCE!!"

    I've seen stupid, but then there's *STTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTUPID*.

    • by Peyna (14792) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:59AM (#15184961) Homepage
      Well, it's actually a good argument. The question is the reach of moral rights in the US, but aside from that take a look at Monty Python for example. Their works were put on TV in the US after being chopped to pieces, edited, censored, etc. So, sure it put their skits in front of millions of people; however, what it put in front of those people was NOT something they created, but a bastardization of it. So then instead of a million more fans, they've got a million people that think Monty Python is something that it isn't.

      So, Miro is saying that Google has created the impression that he created the logo for them and perhaps that is not something he would have done and doesn't want his name associated with it. IF such moral rights exist in the US, then he might stand a chance. US courts have not been very receptive to the idea in the past, even with the VARA in existence.
    • by mean pun (717227) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @12:33PM (#15185133)
      Billions of people who've never heard of you before will now find out about you.

      This may come as a shock here on /., but there are people that consider Miro more culturally important and rightly famous than Google. They probably even think that if you haven't heard of Miro by now you're not worth talking to anyway, you uncultured barbarian. I know, I know: totally deluded, the lot of them, but there you have it.

      Not that even that point of view excuses the attitude of ARS.

  • bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by penguin-collective (932038) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @12:14PM (#15185036)
    Artistic styles cannot be copyrighted or patented. In limited cases, people can get design patents or trademarks, but I seriously doubt that that would apply here. Furthermore, it's not like Miro was the only person to have drawn in that style.

    ARS and the Miro family seem particularly stupid in this case because Google probably gives them a lot more exposure for free than they have received in a long time.
  • Connect the Dots (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @01:03PM (#15185259) Homepage Journal
    Miro died in 1983, after a lifetime spent capitalizing handsomely (and well-deservedly) on his art. Under the original US copyright laws, he and his "estate" would have had until 2000 to benefit exclusively from the right to reproduce his works. That limited time was certainly more than sufficient to to promote the progress of science and useful arts [usconstitution.net].

    Even though artists like Miro would produce their art regardless of protections or capitalization, driven by their "muse" that compels them to communicate in their medium as much as the rest of us are compelled to communicate by talking and handwaving. And like lawyers are compelled to communicate through C&D letters and invoices.

    Popular art like Miro's has always quickly become part of the folk vocabulary of its culture. An early effect of that acceptance is usually enough saleability that the artist can make money quickly, supporting more art. In the centuries since the Constitution recognized a limited monopoly compromise with freedom for practical operation of a free society in an scarcity economy, the time required for adequate compensation has shrunk vastly, with reproduction and compensation technology and techniques far beyond most could then imagine. Recognition of the contribution of the people who codify such art into our folk culture has been completely eclipsed by concessions to the experts who codify art from "high" through "pop" through "commercial" and protect all its product franchises in perpetuity.
  • As an artist... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @01:38PM (#15185421) Journal
    I feel qualified to comment, and I feel the ARS organisation is basically a bunch of parasites that exude bullshit at ever corner in this regard.

    First off, Dali and Miro are both DEAD. They don't give a flying fuck one way or the other. It is an utter absurdity for them to asume some kind of a mantle of "assumed artistic intention", when the artist is dead as a herring. Does their hagiographic activity have rights in perpetuity? Will we have to deal with these soul sucking tourdes for the next 5,000 years? 500 years? 50 years?

    I would argue that these jackasses have No Rights. I would argue that an artist has control over his work and images of his as long as he is alive. When he dies, his inheritors own the work, but they do not own the rights over images of the work, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T MAKE THE STUFF, and they have fewer rights over the work for that reason.

    This reminds me of the parasites who run the John Cage estate who sued a musician who put a few minutes of silence on his record in homage to John Cage... Cage has been dead for a while, and 4'33" was composed over 50 years ago. Much the same is going here with Miro and Picasso.

    I detest this world of Intellectual Property where coporate parasites and lawyers earn more by merchandising the dead than the artists did in the first place. When I die, I am going to set my work free in my will.

    RS

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @03:40PM (#15185958) Journal
    This isn't about copyrights, it's about moral rights [wikipedia.org].

    I doubt they're saying an art style is copyrighted, but I do believe they're using their rights to preserve "work integrity". The Berne Convention says:

    Independently of the author's economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation.

    I do believe this feels pretty nutty though, so don't believe I'm thinking this sounds like great news and intelligence at work on a high level. :-)

You've been Berkeley'ed!

Working...