Thursday, August 31, 2017

On Memes and Theft

The Guardian has an article about memes, this one in particular, and I love their choice of cover photo:

Because it's not remotely important relative to everything else going on, yet it's still in the mix - one more thing to consider.

Belam writes,
"Guillem has a warning for people liberally spreading the picture across the net to put their copy of Photoshop down: “It’s not allowed to use any image without purchasing the proper licence in any possible way, so each one of the people that use the images without the licence are doing it illegally. What really worries us and we are not going to allow it, taking the appropriate legal measures, is the use of the images in a pejorative, offensive or any way that can harm the models or me." 

I'm really curious to see how this plays out. It feels like plagiarism and misappropriation is unstoppable at this point in our age of photoshop and memes. Should we just accept it all and look at images critically, recognizing as the new normal the need to search the origins of the picture of a shark in Houston before sharing it for example, or should we start reporting it? And to whom? I've very careful of the images I post of my family online, ever wary of meme makers. There's an app for that, so anyone can do it easily. Maybe too easily?

I periodically contact Goodreads, specifically, for the many, many misattributed quotations readers post there and then share widely, but Goodreads won't take them down despite concrete proof of inaccuracies. But I'm a bit of a radical that way, wanting people to know the correct source and citation and all. I'm not as bothered by memes. Unless, of course, they have a misattributed quotation. I mean, this cover photo is funny, so that seems to make it okay to use someone else's work without permission. I think the difference is that it's clear that it's not the photographer's original work, but a satirization. But the difference between that and typical satire is that it actually uses the photographer's image with real people in it to make the meme.

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