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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Aborignal Flag: No, you can't use it.
Recently Google was running an Australia-themed logo for their search page.  They change the logo a lot, and for Australia day they intended to use the rather lovely design an eleven year old girl whipped up, which included the aboriginal flag.

The copyright owner for this flag would not let Google use it for free, so it was removed.  Neither he nor Google would confirm the amount of monetary compensation which he also refused.


I'm struggling to see how this makes a lick of sense.  The copyright holder, Harold Thomas, "refused only because Google did not approach him in a respectful way and had demanded to reproduce the flag without charge" according to the Sydney Morning Herald.  He went on to say "they first contacted me wanting it to be used freely ... you don't start off negotiations that way - they put me on the back foot, and therefore I had to protect my interests".

Whinge much, buddy?  And this, after Google went out of their way to protect the over-sensitive?

In any case, I think it's odd that he'd refuse permission for his creation to be used like this.  According to AusGov's NAIDOC website, no permission is required to fly the flag.  I'd have guessed this would apply to anyone wanting to show the flag too.  Certainly the people who scratched it into every window on every Queensland train and spraypainted it on every flat surface didn't ask permission first. 

He also said he wished Google had asked him before picking the winning entry.  I can just imagine how that conversation would go:  "Hi, yeah, look, we want to reward a talented little girl who drew a cute logo for us that we're only gonna use for twenty four hourse.  It has your flag on it, and we wanted to see if you're OK with us giving her the first place prize?" 

His response, obviously:  "No, screw you.  You pay, she pays.  What school does she attend?  I'll have my attorney send an invoice."
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