Famous On The Internet: The Spectrum Of Internet Memes And The Legal Challenge Of Evolving Methods Of Communication

Stacey M. Lantagne *

If you are one of the many people who use social media daily, chances are you have shared copyrighted photographs, retweeted copyrighted Vines, and reblogged copyrighted GIFs, all of celebrities or anonymous people you know only through the meme itself, and you have never paid a cent to anyone.

Social media is a huge and profitable business, and it is often stated that much of it is based on user-generated content. Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are nothing without the people who upload to the sites, but social media is frequently not about the posting of content you have generated yourself, but rather the reposting of content you have seen other people post, often without the knowledge or consent of either the rights-owner or the people in the content itself.

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* Assistant Professor of Law, University of Mississippi School of Law. The author wishes to thank the participants of the Internet Law Works-in-Progress Colloquium, the Mid-West Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Conference, the Works-in-Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium, the University of Missouri College of Law Faculty Speaker Exchange, and the University of Mississippi Faculty Writing Groups for helpful comments and suggestions. The author is also grateful for the University of Mississippi School of Law Summer Research Grant that enabled this article.