title for Moral Rights Cases note
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This page considers disagreement about online breaches of moral rights.

It covers -

subsection heading icon      introduction

Online breaches of moral rights - through for example inappropriate juxtaposition or appropriation - have yet to attract much scholarly attention and not resulted in a substantial body of case law.

Disagreements are, however, emerging. In April 2006 for example the family of Spanish artist Joan Miro (1893-1983) claimed that Google Inc. had breached his rights with type on its home page that allegedly used elements of his works.

Google frequently decorates its name on that page with whimsical characters - we particularly like the charming bears, which remind us of a former colleague - and type to commemorate holidays or famous people. On Miro's birthday it accordingly used type that emulated the amoeboid figures found in much of his surrealist painting. The artist's family objected that Google had not sought permission to use Miro's works. Google responded that "Yesterday's logo was inspired by his work, but did not copy any of it", commenting that it was "disappointed" but had honoured the family's request by removing the type.

Google denied any wrongdoing - a denial that would almost certaintly have been endorsed in a US court - and explained that
"Joan Miro made an extraordinary contribution to the world with his art and we wanted to pay tribute to that." A spokesperson for the family indicated that it was concerned over what it viewed as a violation of copyright and moral rights.

They were very upset about it ... A lot of the problems could have been alleviated if Google had informed the family first. But I'm not saying the family would have agreed to it.

An Australian court might have given the family the same satisfaction offered to Mrs Orff.




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