Internet memes: copyright licensing in an IP minefield


Internet memes: copyright licensing in an IP minefield

Internet memes have become a popular marketing tool for companies such as Nike and McDonald’s for their quick and easy dissemination, cool factor and ‘stickiness’.

But their use in marketing can be problematic, as TB&I discovers, while those who use existing copyrights to create memes may find themselves in hot water.

Another forwarded email lands in your inbox. Whether the picture, video or joke it contains inspires a giggle or a groan, what you decide to do next is a factor in its ‘success’. Only the best will be passed along to friends, gradually working their way into popular culture, while the less inspired are weeded out of the meme pool into Internet obscurity. Some, like Lolcats, Rickrolling and viral video ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ will gain global notoriety.

This is the Internet meme. It can be an image, video or trending Twitter hashtag, but like an organism, it has the potential to grow and mutate, and only the best will survive. Memes will inspire commentary, imitations and parodies in massive numbers if they’re good enough. They are the Internet’s perfect offspring. Fundamentally, they’re ideas that are easily distributed and modified online.

Internet memes, marketing, licensing, YouTube, Cheezburger