Are Memes Copyright

Memes are so popular now that when someone creates a Meme it spreads like wildfire, but they are funny and they lighting up your day. The question is are Memes copyright and if so who owns them? The answer is no because Memes that are found on the internet have a creator but they are often unknown. The generators of Memes on the internet allows everyone to create their own Memes. So it’s impossible to issue a copyright.

2 thoughts on “Are Memes Copyright”

  1. This is a good topic to take on. But, it’s a bit more complicated, as many things are.

    The basics of copyright is that anything you create originally is automatically copyrighted, that’s the right of the creator. The images used in memes, cartoon characters, or clips from movies are likely copyrighted content. Many people argue that because what is used (one frame from hundreds of thousands in a movie) and done in parody, fall under fair use guidelines (learn more

    The penguin example in this article argues against it. What it does say is that because meme sites do not track who posts a new meme image makes it very unlikely a copyright owner (e.g. a movie studio that owns the rights to the Titanic movie, and hence Leonardo de Caprio’s image in the meme you made) is going find it worth their time and spending money on lawyers to pursue a copyright case against you. So copyright is present, but it’s very hard to prosecute for meme images.

    The article indicates that you are on much safer grounds if you create memes on other sites like imflip and share in social media– the place where you might get pursued is when you republish on your own web site.

    I would not panic or remove the meme, and I am not stopping either.

    In a strict interpretation of copyright, it’s technically a violation, but the legal issues hinge more on whether it would ever be prosecutable.

    Meme on!


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