Google removes Aboriginal flag from winning Doodle 4 Google entry
Last year 11 year old Jessie Du won Google’s Doodle 4 Google competition with her entry ‘Australia Forever’. Displayed on Google’s homepage for Australia Day, the doodle features Australian animals formed into the letters g-o-o-g-l-e.
Attentive Google visitors soon noticed that something was missing. Jessie’s original entry included the Aboriginal flag but this has been removed from the image on Google’s homepage. But before readers start throwing around the ‘R’ word, here’s Google’s explanation:
You may have noticed that the Google Doodle on the homepage today is slightly different to Jessie’s original entry, because that one contained copyright imagery that we weren’t able to publish on the homepage today. However, I think you’ll agree it’s still absolutely beautiful, and inspires lots of wonderful ideas about the Australia of our future.
The Aboriginal flag is protected by copyright. In 1997 the Federal Court of Australia recognised Harold Thomas as the flag’s author. The flag may only be reproduced in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 or with the permission of Mr Harold Thomas.
Update: Asher Moses at the Sydney Morning Herald has the story including an interview with Thomas:
Thomas, who lives in Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory, said he refused only because Google did not approach him in a respectful way and had demanded to reproduce the flag without charge.
"I said well you can use it but there’s a fee component and the [Google] person said: ‘Oh we can’t do that, we can’t pay for it, we’ll have to ask the girl to change it [the logo] if we have to pay for it,’ " Thomas said.
"So ever since that time we’ve been argy bargying over how we should go about it and in the end it was a pittance offer so I decided why bother?"
Another update: Dogs like to dig holes.
But wait … there’s more: The BBC has picked up the story. But they’re a little confused about the origins of the Aboriginal flag:
Mr Howard designed the flag in the 1970s as a symbol of the indigenous land rights movement in Australia.
They mean Mr Thomas.