Steve Peters

Experience Design

Don’t Create Work Inspired by Other Artists’ Work, Apparently

Nix on Google/Miro remix by ZDNet's Dan Farber -- Just as Google celebrates its ascendent quarterly earnings release, the family of artist Joan Miro cites copyright violations for remixing the artist works in a Google logo (on Miro's birthdate). "It's a distortion of the original works and in that respect it violates the moral rights of the artist,'' said Theodore Feder, president of Artists Rights [...] OK, this sort of thing is just......sad. Google, which has been known to pay tribute to certain individuals by changing the Google logo on their homepage on the person's birthday, had to remove this:


I'm sorry, but the ARS is way off on this one. Unless I'm mistaken, this is a work created by some artist at Google, based on the style of Joan Miro (although I'm not discounting the possibility that there could have been some copy/paste work involved here).

Google complied by taking down the logo immediately. Most people think it was to avoid a legal battle, but I'm thinking it was for other reasons. If I was in a similar situation, having created something to honor someone's work, I'd be like "Hey fine, I don't really want to pay tribute to you as much as I thought I did."

So, I actually give a kudos to Google for taking the image down immediately. Not so much for caving to the Miro Estate's demands, as much as the underlying "Well, screw you, then!" between the lines of doing so. Google had nothing to gain by leaving it up, really, but the Miro Estate certainly did, and they blew it.

I don't know what it is about certain artists (and relatives of dead artists, apparently) that makes them think they have the right to stifle art even inspired by their work. I mean, this is pretty standard in art and even musical composition classes, isn't it? Write a 2-part invention based on Bach's style, etc.

This reminds me of something similar going on with Dale Chihuly, the Tacoma-based glass blower who has gained as much fame as, um, Thomas Kinkaid (and yeah, this should give you an idea of what I think of Chihuly and his "art") to the rich-and-famous.

Chihuly (who hasn't personally blown his own glass since 1979) is suing Bryan Rubino, one of his former star employee artisans, for "stealing his work." Chihuly is claiming that Rubino is creating glass art that rips off his own, so he's taking Rubino to court. You can read the details of the whole sordid affair here. Way to go, Dale.

By the way, all you songwriters out there? The Gm7 chord? That's mine.