Google Drops Aboriginal Flag from Doodle Winner Due To Copyright

Jan 28, 2010 • 9:18 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics

Google ran a Doodle4Google competition in Australia and Jessie won with this Doodle:

Aboriginal Flag Doodle Issue

When they posted the Doodle on the web site, it was missing the Aboriginal Flag. Here is a picture:

Google doodles Aboriginal flag

I mentioned this in passing in Google's Kuwait Doodle mistake. But now, Google came to the Google Web Search Help forums explaining the issue. Jaime from Google said:

Thanks for voicing your concern here in the forum. Just to make sure everyone is aware of what took place I wanted to explain here that due to the Aboriginal Flag having copyright, we requested permission from the Aboriginal Copyright owners to display the original doodle with the flag on the Google homepage. They declined the permission and as such, in consultation with Jessie, we had to gently alter the doodle so we could proudly display her wonderful artwork - of which we are very proud.

It is a shame Google was unable to get rights to show the flag there. But Jessie seemed like a good sport!

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

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Andy M.

01/28/2010 08:28 pm

Gotta love the knee-jerk reaction from the other users in that thread. I'm glad to see that Jessie stepped in and set the record straight.


01/28/2010 10:15 pm

I heard the artist (copyright holder) being interviewed on radio. He basically said it wasn't about the money - if Google had've asked for permission rather than just publishing it he would've given the OK. He has been called greedy but infact all he wants to do is stop corporations expoloiting the flag. Charities and not for profits obtain permission to use the flag all the time but have the decency to ask for permission first.

Tamar Weinberg

01/29/2010 03:27 am

Justification about greedy corporations or not, it actually surprises me that a FLAG (!) has a copyright. I wouldn't have known myself that I'd need to get permission, and I could imagine that others don't know either, Richard.


01/29/2010 08:14 pm

It was my understanding that flags of governments like state flags or national flags are not copyrightable, at least not in the U.S. Is this another country's law where flags of countries can be copyrighted?

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