Photo: Chuckieart via You Tube
Internet memes have become something of a staple in viral ads.
In the marketing world, they are everywhere imaginable — from Virgin Media to Vitaminwater‘s ads — but this commercial use raises some serious intellectual property questions, Corporate Counsel’s Scott Slavick writes.
Mainly, are marketing teams allowed to freely use these memes for commercial purposes?
Well, not really.
They should err on the side of caution since the Copyright Act doesn’t often consider commercial use to be protected the same way as creative use, Slavick writes.
In the past year, for example, one of the most popular and oldest memes out there, the Rickroll video, was taken down following a copyright dispute from AVG Technologies, Torrent Freak reported.
Slavick also warns against assuming the creator of a meme holds the intellectual property rights to the entire product.
Companies that don’t get permission to use a meme could be paying as much as $150,000 in damages if found liable of copyright infringement, according to Corporate Counsel.
So, before a cat plays the keyboards for your next commercial, make sure you have the right permissions to use it.
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