Google’s Miro logo

A representative of the family of Spanish surrealist Joan Miro asked Google to remove the art from its homepage today.

Google’s homepage carried an image containing elements of several of Miro works. Theodore Feder, president of Artists Rights Society, which represents the Miro family, said: “There are underlying copyrights to the works of Miro, and they are putting it up without having the rights.”

In a written statement to the Mercury News (see Merc story), Google said that it would honor the request but that it did not believe its logo was a copyright violation.

We, too, post thumbnail images at SiliconBeat, and in the cases where copyright appears to be a concern, we’ve have been told it is ok as long as we give a credit line and/or a link to the original source where possible. Arguably, this Google homepage logo space is more than a thumbnail image. It is a space where Google’s world famous — and one of the most valuable — brand logos usually sits. But the Miro art was a compilation of several elements of his work, which Google might have felt was a safer bet. Yet the family is claiming it amounts to a “distortion” of Miro’s art. If we had to choose sides on this, we’d pick Google’s, even if we believe strongly in supporting the integrity of an artists’ work.

What do you guys think? There are no doubt many among you who work at Internet companies that deal with images. And many venture capitalists who invest in such companies.

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