Twitter's 'Fail Whale' Artist Got Zilch from IPO
Twitter co-founder discovered image on stock photo site
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Nov 9, 2013 5:05 PM CST
The Twitter bird logo is on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday Nov. 6, 2013. Twitter's initial public offering was priced at $26 a share, Wednesday evening, and...   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) – Back in 2008, when Twitter was prone to crashes, users got to know the "Fail Whale"—a cartoon animal being lifted out of the water by birds. The image is the work of artist Yiying Lu, who posted it that year to the website That's where Twitter co-founder Biz Stone found it, reports the New York Times, which has the artwork (the whale's also got its own feed). The image grew popular with users of the social network, something Lu didn't realize until a fan let her know. "I didn’t even have a Twitter account," she says. And following Twitter's IPO, she doesn't have stock in the site, either—"yet," she says.

The success of the image led to more opportunities for Lu, a Shanghai native. Conan O'Brien commissioned a similar piece for his TBS show, this one dubbed "Pale Whale" and featuring the comedian riding on the whale. Twitter engineers commissioned an owl logo for the site's maintenance service. Lu isn't angry over the length of time it took Twitter to credit her for the work, she tells the Times. Still, "tech companies should compensate artists who contribute to their company’s value," she notes. "It’s important to humanize technology."

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Nov 9, 2013 7:26 PM CST
Read the websites FAQs. This woman, who admits she uploaded the image under her own free will, is owed nothing by Twitter at all. Just another person with remorse for what could have been had they not taken the avenue they chose to take. Apparently, because a successful tech giant used the image, she feels she should be compensated, when the reality is there is not a dime owed at all. This is a good lesson for those who willingly allow their intellectual property to be used by these type of services.