Google is having artists make custom skins for its Chrome Browser, which is pretty cool. Much less cool, however, is that one of the biggest companies in the world refuses to pay the artists.
Many of the established artists are refusing to hand over their work to Google for no cash based on promises of free exposure.
"I have done gift cards for Target that are in stores nationwide and animations for Nickelodeon that run 24 hours a day worldwide on cable TV," Melinda Beck, an illustrator who is based in Brooklyn, wrote in an e-mail message to Google rejecting its offer. "Both of these jobs were high-profile and gave my work great exposure but both clients still paid me."
It's tough to see Google's position as reasonable here. Sure, these artists will get exposure, but if they can't get paid by Google, who will pay them? The paid-in-exposure deal is something you see offered by student films looking for actors and new publications with no money looking for writers, and it's only justifiable when the employers in question are completely unable to pay for work, and even then it's questionable. But Google? Google can afford it. Exposure is great, but as anyone who's ever tried to make money on the internet can tell you, you can't pay your rent with exposure.
Whatever happened to "Don't Be Evil," Google? [NY Times]