I created this political satire image, "Windoze 2495," on October 4th, 1994, and posted it on my old website. Since then, it has spread anonymously all over the internet. It is on most of the anti-Microsoft websites of course, but it pops up in other surprising places. For example, it is one of the little recurring icons used to decorate articles about Microsoft on the technical computer news site slashdot.org. People have done all sorts of things to/with my image: scaled it, masked it, added titles over it, greyed out the colors, and in some cases even claimed it as their own work.
One particularly pathetic loser, the kind of person who really lets down your faith in mankind, took my image without permission, presented it on his website with no attribution (so that any reasonable person would think it was his work—and many on the web did), and started making money off of my image by printing it on a t-shirt and charging $10 plus shipping. It annoyed me a lot that he stole my image and essentially made it seem like he created it, making money on something I intended to release as a political satire collage for all to view for free. Sure, it's great that another person was distributing my image, but the act of selling my image for a profit poisons the very intent of the image and is the kind of hypocritical move we'd expect from a slimy, money-centric organization like, say, Microsoft!
But what really pissed me off was that his t-shirt looked like utter crap—he didn't even have the basic pre-school competence or integrity to brighten up the image a bit so that it would look good when printed on a t-shirt! I don't have any idea how much this pod made off of my work, but there was some small recompense when he suddenly had to shut down his site "due to unexpected (and unwanted) attention from an attorney representing Bill Gates."
I'm certainly not the only person to associate Bill Gates with the evil Borg of Star Trek—the association is almost instinctive for computer types. But I think I was the first one to create a photographic collage. The same idea was done in a really cool cover of an old edition of Boardwatch magazine (May 1996, Volume X, Issue 5, artist's name was Kathy Meyers) and they have been selling posters of their cover since 1996! Doing a web search for "Bill Gates as a Borg" reveals a few new takes on the theme as well.
Chris Pirazzi, email@example.com
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