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.
In the ensuing weeks, a tide of indignation toward Google swelled among illustrators, who stay connected through Drawger, a Web site.
Ted Rall writes a letter to the Times today that is particularly scathing:
It’s offensive that a company that reports annual profits in the billions refuses to pay independent artists for their labor.
Sadly, the Web revolution has turned “information wants to be free” into a mantra. Whether it’s illustrators, cartoonists or musicians, working for free ought to have gone out with slavery. Congress ought to act to make it illegal for a profitable corporation to solicit work without paying for it.