Copyright in a World of Memes

Schöner Artikel auf Motherboard über Copyright und Memes. Besonders interessant für Bildagenturen, die denken, wir hätten immer noch 1988 und sie müssten nichts für ihren Job dazulernen.

In the world of Internet memedom, “original” is an elusive term. One can imagine Reihani wanting to stake her own copyright. After all, it was her creative mind that synthesized that sugary, irritating, but implacable alchemy of elements into a single video that made the Nyan Cat famous. But Reihani’s video incorporates elements from at least two different, more original sources: Torres’s Pop Tart cat and the song by Daniwell. Her claim to copyright would be dubious at best.

One could say the same about any number of popular memes, if not most of them. Someone, somewhere owns the rights to the first Ryan Gosling photo turned into a “hey girl” meme on the “Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling” Tumblr page. Just like Hasbro definitely owns the My Little Pony images all those Brony weirdos are obsessively creating and getting off to.

Tracking down or proving ownership isn’t always easy. “Sometimes it can be very difficult to pinpoint the creator of the first instance of a meme,” said Don Caldwell, senior reporter at Know Your Meme, in an email. “This is especially true for old memes that came from sites like 4chan, which is not only anonymous but only has a limited off site archive on Chanarchive.”

Copycats, Takedowns, and Ass Rainbows: What Does Copyright Mean for Internet Memes?