Can a meme be copyrighted [No Fluff]

Last updated : Sept 21, 2022
Written by : Dante Conterras
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Can a meme be copyrighted

Can you get copyrighted for memes?

Memes have little economic value and, as previously noted, are typically protected by the fair use doctrine. However, while creating memes for fun is OK, if they are used for commercial or promotional purposes, proper consents and licenses from the copyright owners should be sought to avoid legal repercussions.

How do you legally use memes?

  1. Get the rights or permission to use the image.
  2. Use reputable sources for images.
  3. Comply with specific terms.
  4. Use Google.
  5. Check the copyright agreement.
  6. Educate your team.
  7. Give credit to the copyright holder.
  8. Avoid financial gain from copyrighted work at all costs.

How do you find out if a meme is copyrighted?

Memes and You Your best bet is to start with an image or clip that is already labeled for reuse or is in the public domain, meaning out of copyright protection altogether. Google Images search tools provides such a filter, or try the Creative Commons search for work licensed for reuse via Creative Commons licenses.

Is it illegal to make memes?

The most important piece of law to meme-creators is the Fair Use Doctrine. Part of the Copyright Act, the fair use doctrine codifies into law the idea that you can, in fact, take someone's original work without permission, and lays out four factors to determine when doing so is acceptable.

Can you be sued for using a meme?

Turns out, you can. Hipskind & McAninch, LLC. Home | Blog | Can you sue over a meme? Turns out, you can.

Can you use other peoples memes?

It is understood that commercial use of a meme would not come under the ambit of fair use doctrine, and the owner of the original copyrighted work can claim an infringement action against the meme creator.

Are SpongeBob memes copyrighted?

In the United States, fair use principles often protect memes from copyright infringement lawsuits. O'Brien explained that SpongeBob memes would generally be protected by fair use under U.S. law. Fair use protects creators if the content doesn't compete for the same consumer as the original.

How can I legally use copyrighted images?

It's by no means impossible to use an image that is copyright-protected – you just need to get a license or other permission to use it from the creator first. In most cases, using the work either involves licensing an image through a third-party website, or contacting the creator directly.

Can I use memes commercially?

Generally speaking, almost every popular meme is copyrighted. Unless the image is classified as a Creative Commons graphic or is generally public domain, it's safe to assume you don't truly have the rights to share it. It also isn't uncommon for the owners of these images to seek damages for their misuse.

Are memes considered intellectual property?

In theory, many media types that constitute memes can be protected as IP as long as the work is original or used according to agreed-upon licensing terms.

Who owns a meme?

The author of the artwork is also generally the owner of this copyright, and can bring claims against anyone who uses their work without permission. However, memeaholics should bear in mind that the original image or video used as the basis for the meme is very likely to be protected by its own pre-existing copyright.

Do you need to credit memes?

However, as memes are simply digital images that have been edited, there is an academic obligation to cite a meme the way you would Tweets, YouTube videos, blogs, or any other electronic source. Luckily, the citation structure of a meme is comparable to that of a digital image from any website.

Can I use memes in my YouTube video without copyright?

Yes! you're free and can easily use them, according to youtube guideline if you use the meme visual and add your own audio to that, then it is okay. And on the other hand you'll be safe from the copyright issue.

What images can I use without copyright?

Use Public Domain Images (a.k.a. 'No Copyright' Images) Public Domain images have no copyright because: The copyright has expired. The work never had copyright to begin with. The copyright holder released the work into the public domain.

How do you avoid copyright?

  1. Do not copy anything.
  2. Avoid non-virgin development.
  3. Avoid access to prior design work.
  4. Document right to use.
  5. Negotiate for enhanced warranty and indemnity clauses.
  6. Document your own work.

What images can I use for free?

  • Unsplash. Unsplash — Free image search.
  • Burst (by Shopify) Burst – Free image search, built by Shopify.
  • Pexels. Pexels – free image search.
  • Pixabay. Pixabay – free stock photos.
  • Free Images. Free images – stock photos.
  • Kaboompics.
  • Canva.

Can memes be sold as NFTs?

Since NFTs can be nearly anything — a piece of digital art, a song, a poem, a baseball card, or even a digital deed to a house — it's not surprising that memes inevitably found their way onto the blockchain as NFTs.

Can you get in trouble for sharing memes?

Yes, you can, and Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn, recently found that out the hard way. Most people are aware of the fact that posting certain content online, such as child sexual abuse imagery, or “true threats” can get them in trouble with the law.

How much of a video can you use before violating copyright?

How much of a copyrighted work can I use under fair use? There are not a lot of clearly defined rules about fair use. Thus, there are no rules such as “you can use up to 30 seconds” of a video or musical recording.

How do I edit a video to avoid copyright?

  1. How can I change a copyrighted video to a non-copyrighted video?
  2. Contact the intellectual property owner, likely the production/distribution company that owns the video (e.g, Sony), and request that the video be given a Creative Commons license or put in the public domain.

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Can a meme be copyrighted

Comment by Shaun Donson

hi welcome back terney steve andre and welcome to another exciting video okay so we're talking in this video about our memes legal okay this is question I get quite frequently from people it's like I like to do my memes for my Instagram page is that legal because I'm borrowing pictures and I'm putting my funny captions on it and I say well you know it depends the famous lines of a lawyer right so this is what we tell everybody and it does it depends let's take a quick look at my Instagram page here you can see these are some memes and you can find it right there if you if you haven't bookmark me by now come on I need some help I've got three hundred and ninety one followers that should be 5,000 I'm joking so just if you like that give me a give me a look here but here's some of the means that it pops out you know it pops out some of these cool little pictures here you can put some tags it says down here made with meme attic this is my pro version so you know it just puts out some funny pictures these funny pictures are available on the app and you this is a kind of a classic funny meme down here and so that's a classic funny meme so you know so so you have these memes it's pretty cool and so today I'm going out to make a meme I'm on the on the road and I said well that's I want to make a meme real quick so I go to my meme attic it's an app that you can download on your iPhone so I go to my pneumatic and I get a pop up sign that says realize that some of the photos may be subject to copyrights see our policy and so I was like that's weird why does this just pop up all of a sudden and so at any rate so then you know usually people will just click OK I'm good with it and they go on but not me fine print lawyer we got to dig on and see what these terms are so we know what we're getting ourselves into so these may be standard terms in a in a meme but here's what it said I downloaded it and I sent it to myself so I could read it and share it with my fine followers here that'd like to know a little bit more than the average bear likes to know but the the section here on third-party content or services talks about this app may display in clewd or make available content including images videos gifts and other data and information that may be subject to copyright and other intellectual property rights under the law this content is provided to you as is for your information and your personal use only so I'm going like what do you mean personal use what do you mean just around my house what are you what is what does that even mean you use this content at your own risk and discretion so I don't think most people understand that they're using pneumatic for personal use only unless they consider using it on Instagram to be for your personal use so it's kind of interesting these are the terms the content is as is that means there's no warranties representations any things like that and you use content in your own risk or discretion that means in theory somebody if they have an issue here you have a copyright notice and takedown policy okay so they will if somebody apparently when I'm reading through on this is somebody doesn't like your meme or your use of the meme or maybe even the caption that you're using maybe somebody doesn't mind you using the photo but they say ooh that caption offends me or it's hate speech or something that I don't like you know they may issue a takedown notice they may even take it further and want it to pursue a copyright infringement action you don't know and that's why I say when you're using your meme apps whatever you're using or your websites where you're pulling pictures down I have people sometimes that say well its creative comments so it's so it's free to use I say well you got to read the Creative Commons license you need to make sure that you're reading and preening it out but you know reading this personal use only you know makes me kind of go like well what's the pro version what do you mean personal use only I would be nice meme addict if you guys are out there why don't you come and tell us what you mean by personal use only what does that mean okay so that's just a question that popped into my head and it's a question that I'm asking Farah Donna's question of pneumatic if anybody's representing the company or wants to make an official statement please let me know but I think people are trying to figure these things out so you never know if memes are legal you have to kind of dig down and really thoroughly analyze what you're looking at now that being said you know looking at the pictures that I had on the other page you know they're just pictures they're just you know the spider-man pictures is a picture now when you put a caption on it that is your own that is something now we're segwaying into fair use okay so keep in mind if something is a fair use which is a statutory right under copyright law it's a statutory right to comment and criticize transform things make parodies of things those are statutory rights under the copyright laws of the United States anyway and so when you transform something into something new that can be deemed a fair use that could be deemed legal okay so if you have a funny caption you're transforming a picture to give it new meaning there's a great argument that your use of the photo is is fair use why because it's giving new meaning to the spiderman photo okay so in in my caption we said we said my lawyer call your lawyer to spider-mans pointing at each other so that's kind of something new so there's a good argument that notwithstanding these terms it's a fair use there's an argument that this is personal use because it's on my personal Instagram page it's for my friends to see it's for those who are my friends and followers to see so but I just found that interesting and I wanted to point that out so our memes legal not always check your Terms of Use make sure you're being creative make sure you're transforming I would say be very careful about hate speech and offensive things because artists and whatnot they don't want to be associated with negative brands I know that socks you're going but I have the First Amendment I know I know you have the First Amendment we do videos on this but be careful like I said read those terms nowadays it's just not sufficient to say I agree to things because you don't know what you're agreeing to print it out if you don't know call a law firm like ours we can give it a quick review we can charge you a low flat rate for you to review what you're getting into but make sure you know so but if you're transforming its parody it's a short clamp you know hopefully you won't have any problems can I guarantee it no do you have fair rights built into the statute yes you do have fair rights and many times fair rights is what makes memeing actually legal okay so I know it's kind of a little winding road there little roller coaster but if you followed my train of thought hopefully you understand it a little bit better I know people like definite yes and no answers it's not always that easy and a lot of times when we do if we're doing like fair use opinions

Thanks for your comment Shaun Donson, have a nice day.
- Dante Conterras, Staff Member

Comment by Booker

hello everyone and welcome back to another video today we are going to go to our memes copywriter to start off this lesson we need to imagine a scenario that we are all in say we are all content producers and we wanted to publish a video on YouTube so we open Premiere Pro and start editing amazing content but there is a massive problem you don't know when the means are copyrighted or not and YouTube being what it is you know that is going to be risky using copyrighted content so you don't want to get hit by this is it okay to use means it honestly depends on the meme so let's look at the two case studies grumpy cat is on the right with the owner on the Left grumpy cats grantee cat limiters sue a company over the usage of pumpkin as a meme on a commercial product so this can conclude that commercial usage of memes are illegal this means that you can profit from memes but that's a huge question isn't it we all know that companies can use memes just like that but can we individuals use memes like that for the purpose of using of creating videos well let's just put that question aside and look at doors the miss Sato with Kapuso is on the left here you can see that they haven't set up company photos but they're both essentially the same thing they're both memes when can you use them for specific images these two specific images are pulled from Wikipedia and so just for fair use which means that it is not under Creative Commons but it is okay to use it for educational purposes which is what I'm doing right now so technically it's not okay to use it for making videos but then again it's hard to save for from baquette this specific image is licensed under CC 3.0 so what is easy 3.0 Creative Commons is a very special and new thing on the internet it basically wants to break down copyright licenses so you could put your work your creative or original work that you hold a copyright to under Creative Commons there are multiple creative common licenses out there you need to read each and every one of them to understand what the app for the purposes of this video we're going to go through CC by-sa 3.0 now that's a lot to take in so let's break it down CC basically means Creative Commons nothing more 3.0 is the version of Creative Commons then you have to update it every now and then to keep up with copyright laws so the number doesn't really have that much of an issue the most important things need to know is the what in between CC and the country-specific to you so by se are two separate things which is why doubt distinct with a - there's the - in between them so by means you have to attribute the source which means you have to stay to leave the author of the image of the copyright holder as a means you are able to share it there it says you are free to share and attach so it's that's what share as in you share an adult so this is different from copyright the images itself copyright means you cannot use creative works without permission from the actual copyright holder this means like music videos and means themselves of by default falling under copyright which means you can't use it so some means are copywriter for you some videos you need to research the specific meme so that you know whether it's under copyright on the CC or it's just free to use for all for further reading you can scan this QR code or go to this link listening if you are on mobile or computer scroll down on the comment link will be there in the comment section and description it goes more in-depth on d'you want and this topic thanks for watching and I'll see y'all next time

Thanks Booker your participation is very much appreciated
- Dante Conterras

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