Copyright is the bane and saviour of every creator. It’s the law that both protects and restricts creativity. Individuals use it to ensure they benefit from their creation, while corporations use this law to control the flow of content across channels, limiting what people can and can’t do with it. However, most copyright laws come with exemptions to infringement claims known as “fair use” which enables individuals to use a small amount of copyrighted material for the purpose of commentary/criticism or parody. “Fair use is described not as a right of use but rather as a defence to copyright liability”, so the owner of the copyrighted material can still make a claim of infringement and it’s up to court to decide whether fair use applies.
This original image comments on the fact that fair use isn’t a right and still gives conglomerates the opportunities to place unreasonable restrictions on their content. Disney is one conglomerate notorious for its aggressive defence of intellectual property; certainly unopposed to demanding takedown notices of YouTube clips and suing just about anything remotely similar to their content. Although a meme is considered a parody and uses what most consider a small amount of possibly copyrighted material, in fair use that “small amount” is undefined and open for interpretation. While even a powerful conglomerate like Disney is unlikely to sue over a meme, it’s certainly not impossible.
Cybertelecom :: Copyright: Fair Use. 2015. Cybertelecom :: Copyright: Fair Use. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cybertelecom.org/ip/fair.htm. [Accessed 20 March 2015].
Recovering Fair Use | Steve Collins | M/C Journal. 2015. Recovering Fair Use | Steve Collins | M/C Journal. [ONLINE] Available at: http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/viewArticle/105. [Accessed 20 March 2015].