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  1. #1
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    Google Wants to Use Artists' Work for Free?

    Do you guys think that it's okay for a big company like Google to ask for free work for exposure? I can understand putting it out there, but soliciting from experienced artist seemed messed up to me.

    There's a petition going on already about this: http://workingfail.com/the-problem-i...an-we-thought/


    Here's the article. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/bu...o.html?_r=1&em
    If you aren't a member here's some info:

    When Google representatives recently invited dozens of prominent artists to contribute work to be featured on its new Web browser, the company enthusiastically sold the idea as an opportunity to have artwork shown to millions.

    But some, like Gary Taxali, were not impressed. Mr. Taxali, an illustrator based in Toronto whose work has appeared in publications like Time, Newsweek and Fortune, received a call in April from a member of Google’s marketing department. According to Mr. Taxali, the Google representative explained that the project will let users customize Google Chrome pages with artist-designed “skins” in their borders.

    “The first question I asked,” Mr. Taxali said in a recent interview, “is ‘What’s the fee?’”

    Mr. Taxali said that when he was told Google would pay nothing, he declined.


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  3. #2
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    ...and the problem is what?

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    If it was just an open contest (i.e. a call for submissions), I wouldn't have too much of a problem with it. There are plenty of "for exposure" contests and free work out there that artists can make the choice if it's worth their time or not. Hell, I've done it...and it did open (paid) doors for me, so I can't knock that idea too much.

    But the fact that Google was actually contacting these artists and then expected free work out of them? Ridiculous.
    Obviously, it's still up to people to decide if the exposure is still for their benefit, but there's a big difference in asking for amateurs to make a name for themselves and asking normally paid professionals for free work.

    They've paid their dues, pay them.
    I'd have told them to screw off, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    If it was just an open contest (i.e. a call for submissions), I wouldn't have too much of a problem with it....
    But the fact that Google was actually contacting these artists and then expected free work out of them? Ridiculous.
    That's exactly how I feel about this. I would have been all for a contest like this, but what are artists supposed to do if every big company thinks it's okay to knock on their door asking for free work?

  6. #5
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    Shit it's almost like we live in a free county or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    Shit it's almost like we live in a free county or something.
    Seriously? I thought they made it pretty clear in the petition WHY this doesn't make sense:

    "If you don’t really see a problem with Google’s request for freebies, try to think of this from a different perspective. Let’s pretend you’re a construction worker and Google approached you to work a week on a new Google Museum that they anticipate will get tons of visitors each day. While they don’t want to offer any kind of monetary compensation, in exchange they would include your name on a plaque somewhere in the building. No one reasonable would really expect you to take them up on that offer.

    Professional art really isn’t so different, but for some reason people and companies think artists should be flattered to be offered work, even if it’s unpaid work. Would you call up a mechanic and tell them that you can’t pay but you really loved the work they did on your neighbors car? No, because you wouldn’t want to be laughed at."

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  9. #7
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    On one hand I've rarely heard of designers getting paid for making skins for third party browsers, etc. On the other hand Google has so much money they don't know what to do with it. It makes zero difference to them if they pay or not, so choosing not to do so after proactively contacting an artist is out of order.

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    google has the right to ask for freebies. i have the right to ask google to do my laundry.

    its just a dick move, they have money and they ought to know better. i do not like their logic of using exposure as means to suffice for actual payment. other companies will expect the same sort of deal and the artist will continually get fucked over and never get paid for working. amature assholes with talent will take the bait and make it impossible for anyone to make a living in this career field.

    always get paid for your work... right harlan?


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  12. #9
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    Jeneni you apparently never heard of a no pay internship.

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    always get paid for your work... right harlan?
    That was brilliant. I love the way he talks, haha...
    I fully imagine myself being just as cranky when I am his age.

    Hell, I'm almost as cranky now.

    Jeneni you apparently never heard of a no pay internship.
    Again, that's a little different. Interns go to the business seeking internship or the business will have a advertisement "now hiring interns". They aren't emailing artists saying "Hey, wanna be our intern?". Well, maybe there are some out there, but if they are that's pretty lame. Frankly, I'm a little surprised you seem so pleased to defend this kind of practice. It's not even like you are saying "Eh, it doesn't bother me", you seem to actually be saying "I support this".

    -D

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    Jeneni you apparently never heard of a no pay internship.
    DeadlyFreeze you've apparently never heard of the US Department of Labor's internship laws:

    "Whether student interns are employees under the FLSA will depend upon all the circumstances surrounding their activities. For example, where certain work activities are performed by students that are simply an extension of their academic programs, we often would not assert that an employer-employee relationship exists for purposes of the FLSA. Thus, provided the six criteria listed below are met, where educational or training programs are designed to provide students with professional experience in the furtherance of their education, and the training is academically oriented for the benefit of the students, it is our position that the students will not be considered employees of the firm to which they are assigned. The six criteria, derived from the Supreme Court’s decision in Portland Terminal, are as follows:

    1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school;
    2. The training is for the benefit of the trainee;
    3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under close observation;
    4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
    5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period; and
    6. The employer and the trainee understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training. "

    http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/opinion/F...internship.htm

    Besides, we're not talking about Google offering an internship where a student gains professional knowledge from the experience. We're talking about a company that makes over a billion dollars every quarter (that's right BILLION, not MILLION) begging for handouts.

  15. #12
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    Are we talking about the real world free market here or fantasy land? There will always be someone who will work cheaper then you, or someone who will work JUST for experience or exposure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    Are we talking about the real world free market here or fantasy land? There will always be someone who will work cheaper then you, or someone who will work JUST for experience or exposure.
    That isn't the point here. We've already explained a couple times now what the difference is between a person seeking out an internship or a contest (which I fully support) or what have you...and this, which is large companies actually going TO the artists and expecting them to work for free.

    That's bad. Free market or not, willingness or not....

  17. #14
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    They can expect what ever they want its a free market, if you don't like it that's fine but you don't get to tell google what to do just like google doesn't get to tell you what to do.

  18. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    They can expect what ever they want its a free market, if you don't like it that's fine but you don't get to tell google what to do just like google doesn't get to tell you what to do.
    Haha, do you work for Google or something? You seem to be very sensitive about this topic. And while you may be right that someone can't tell them what to do (since when was I trying to do such a thing, btw? I've only been expressing my opinion just like you), obviously there are still a few artists out there that think this type of thing is bullshit or this wouldn't be a story.

    And for that, I am happy. If every artist got an email from Google that said "hey, do free work for me and we'll give you exposure", then "exposure" wouldn't mean jack shit, because no one would be getting paid for anything.

    I don't think anyone is arguing the free market here. The only argument is Google's method of getting their "free art". There are other ways (already described) they could have went about this and it wouldn't have looked nearly as bad.

  19. #16
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    Google asking for free work is rude but it's just that, rude.

    If you come in and ask people to sign a petition to what, stop google from being rude?
    This thread is just a bunch of nonsense, that's all I'm pointing out.

    ...god I wish I worked for google.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    Google asking for free work is rude but it's just that, rude.

    If you come in and ask people to sign a petition to what, stop google from being rude?
    This thread is just a bunch of nonsense, that's all I'm pointing out.

    ...god I wish I worked for google.
    Are you sure? I hear they don't pay very well.
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  21. #18
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    Google asking for free work is rude but it's just that, rude.
    Well now you have completely baffled me.
    That is pretty much what people are saying here, man. You actually agree with me, congratulations on being Dr. Confuse-O.

    I agree with you on something as well....that being online petitions are f'n worthless 99.999999% of the time.

  22. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    Google asking for free work is rude but it's just that, rude.

    If you come in and ask people to sign a petition to what, stop google from being rude?
    This thread is just a bunch of nonsense, that's all I'm pointing out.

    ...god I wish I worked for google.
    I wish it was just rude. But the problem with this is if a HUGE company that makes a billion dollars a quarter is soliciting unpaid work (not offering, but soliciting) then everyone else will think it's okay. It's not. It hurts the industry. I believe in a free market, but I don't believe in begging.

  23. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeneni View Post
    I wish it was just rude. But the problem with this is if a HUGE company that makes a billion dollars a quarter is soliciting unpaid work (not offering, but soliciting) then everyone else will think it's okay. It's not. It hurts the industry. I believe in a free market, but I don't believe in begging.
    They're not "begging" really, they're just being assholes. Unfortunately assholes has as much right to participate in a free market as anyone else does.

    They'll get theirs, eventually.
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    Bottom line, if you want people to work for free, it should be the first first thing you mention. By no means am I a business professional, but I'd think that if you're soliciting work from a professional, you shouldn't even be talking about what the job entails until you mention that it's unpaid. I imagine going to an interview with the impression that you're going to be working for a salary only to find out later that the position is unpaid, is just rude and a waste of the artists time.

    One thing that stands out to me from the recent Concept Art workshop down here was one of the guys on stage talking about the entertainment industry and saying "the 2 people that get screwed the most in the entertainment industry are: 1)writers and 2)artists"
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    ah great, so if trying to make a living as a designer wasn't hard enough, now we're supposed to be competing to do work for nothing, even with the multimillion dollar companies? what a crock of shit. i really hope other big companies don't follow suit with this scam. it's more of the fault of the designers accepting this turd as it is Google.
    Last edited by B u r l; June 16th, 2009 at 07:43 PM.

  26. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burl View Post
    ah great, so if trying to make a living as a designer wasn't hard enough, now we're supposed to be competing to do work for nothing, even with the multimillion dollar companies? what a crock of shit. i really hope other big companies don't follow suit with this scam. it's more of the fault of the designers accepting this turd as it is Google.
    Big and small companies, entrepreneurs, etc. ARE doing this all the time. And have been for years.

    A lot of people who don't understand the art and/or design world don't understand the work that goes into making them pretty shit. There is no value placed on the services we provide. And while I disagree with that tack and think (obviously) that our work has tremendous value, and as much as it saddens me, for every person out there fighting for "the industry" there are 10 teenagers, Indians, or just plain unscrupulous or clueless people who take them up on these "offers" of "exposure".
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  28. #24
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    Sounds like everybody wants art for free... Wasn´t Wikipedia fighting for the right to use "orphan" art for free on it´s page? Does anyone here remember something about that?
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    unscrupulous teenage Indians... those bastards.

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  31. #26
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    You guys are going to poo poo bricks when you get a job and they work you 70 hours overtime for nothing. Honestly if your looking for a fair days pay for a fair days work then this isn't the industry for you.

  32. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    You guys are going to poo poo bricks when you get a job and they work you 70 hours overtime for nothing. Honestly if your looking for a fair days pay for a fair days work then this isn't the industry for you.
    I've been a professional game artist for almost 10 years now...I think I have a grasp of how things work.

    Unpaid overtime is a completely separate discussion, though (in fact, I believe there is a thread about it recently that I also chimed in on).

    -D

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    I frickin' love that interview with Ellison. I don't know who many times I've seen it now, but it still gets me in all the right places. Every contractor out in any industry needs to see that interview and commit it to memory
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  34. #29
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    Are we talking about the real world free market here or fantasy land?
    You were one of those people for the deregulation of the banks weren't you. I guess the housing market collapse is just a part of the "real world free market"

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    We are talking about mature adults here, aren't we?

    Have any of them actually said "Yes?"

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