Exposure Can Kill You (or Starving for Your Friends is Bullshit)

Colorful Artist
Ian Sane / Foter.com / CC BY


Scott Timberg, writing for Salon on, “Wil Wheaton is right: Stop expecting artists to work for free — or worse, for “exposure”“:

Wheaton recently wrote a post on his personal blog called “Seven Things I Did To Reboot My Life” that included drinking less, working out more, and so on. A Huffington Post editor approached him about reprinting it there, and he asked how much they paid for the right to use his nearly 3,500-word piece — which will drive their traffic, hence their advertising, hence their revenues. He was tempted if they offered him something that seemed respectful.

Well, it turns out, the editor responded with: “Unfortunately, we’re unable to financially compensate our bloggers at this time. Most bloggers find value in the unique platform and reach our site provides, but we completely understand if that makes blogging with us impossible.”

Wheaton said no, and sent out two angry tweets to his nearly three million followers. It was about the principle of it, he said. “Huffington Post is valued at well over fifty million dollars, and the company can absolutely afford to pay contributors,” he wrote on the blog. “The fact that it doesn’t, and can get away with it, is distressing to me.”

I agree. I have friends who create books, graphic novels, art and music. I’ve never asked for comp copies. I’ve purchased my copies and read them knowing I was enjoying a work of art that the creator/friend was compensated for fairly.

I am pleased to have a few friends who are gifted in painting and graphics. I want a piece from each of them to hang on my walls. When I acquire them, it will be for a fair market price and I will appreciate their work that much more knowing that they can buy some groceries or pay a bill with the money.

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