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Meme copyright©

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Hi all, sorry if it sounds like a stupid question, but I'm totally n00b when it comes to law and legal stuffs, sooo.....

 

I have a plan to make an RPG game, and the characters would be of several races: the "pepe" (the green frog meme) race, and the "feel guy" (the white "feel" meme guy) race are some of them. It would also heavily use pop-art (memes) in its contents. Now, I'm afraid that once it gets released (hopefully), I would get sued for violation of copyright. I thought memes are not copyrighted yet, but I'm not sure. Would I need to take some kind of legal stances before using memes in my games? :unsure:

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Everything created by someone is covered by copyright. Most memes involve copyright infringement right from the start, long before you even see it. As soon as you start trying to make a project out of it you make yourself a big target for whoever owns the original images. I'd strongly recommend abandoning this idea.

Edited by Kylotan

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Put differently:

 

If it exists in the digital world and you did not create it, you don't own it and you have no right to use it.  This includes images, source code, books, Javascript inside web pages, and everything else.  If it exists on a computer it is new enough to be subject to copyright laws.

 

If you want to use something that you did not make (including meme images) you need to get permission for it to be legal.  There are a small number of exceptions, but they generally don't apply even when people think they do.

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The problem with Memes is that it isn't just the Meme creator you need to worry about but, also the owner of the original image that inspired the Meme.
There are indeed some Memes that have been trademarked such as Grumpy Cat whose owner has sued in the past (when somebody tried using the GC image for advertising) and the original Lollerskates ASCII was part of a legal case but, there are also people like Getty images and National Geographic who have in the past sent letters asking for payment because people displayed a meme that started life as one of their licences images.

 

You likely would not actually get sued but either given a C and D letter or sent a bill asking for a licensing fee.

 

Now if you should use a Meme in a game is entirely up to you.  Personally if it was quick free mobile match the meme game that takes a day to cobble together then I'd risk it and if I received a letter then Id remove it.  On the other hand if its an RPG that you are going to spend a time designing or a game that you intend on asking money for then yeah you better come up with another idea.

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Pepe the frog is definitely someone's copyright, and you can find his name to ask permission. I don't know about the feel guy.

And indeed, the creator is very unhappy about Pepe's meme status with the alt-right crowd and so I would think very carefully about what context you would like to use that character in.

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Pepe the frog is definitely someone's copyright, and you can find his name to ask permission. I don't know about the feel guy.

And indeed, the creator is very unhappy about Pepe's meme status...

 

He was very unhappy about that golden calfs meme status also.

 

j/k, please don't downvote.. :P

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Everything created by someone is covered by copyright. Most memes involve copyright infringement right from the start, long before you even see it. As soon as you start trying to make a project out of it you make yourself a big target for whoever owns the original images. I'd strongly recommend abandoning this idea.

Ah. After reading several responses, I think I will abandon this idea.

 

Put differently:

 

If it exists in the digital world and you did not create it, you don't own it and you have no right to use it.  This includes images, source code, books, Javascript inside web pages, and everything else.  If it exists on a computer it is new enough to be subject to copyright laws.

 

If you want to use something that you did not make (including meme images) you need to get permission for it to be legal.  There are a small number of exceptions, but they generally don't apply even when people think they do.

I was planning on modelling a 3D Pepe® and Feel Guy myself, and recreating the meme content myself (3D modelling). But after researching about it, it classifies as "re-creation of item" which is the same of "using" it.

 

The problem with Memes is that it isn't just the Meme creator you need to worry about but, also the owner of the original image that inspired the Meme.
There are indeed some Memes that have been trademarked such as Grumpy Cat whose owner has sued in the past (when somebody tried using the GC image for advertising) and the original Lollerskates ASCII was part of a legal case but, there are also people like Getty images and National Geographic who have in the past sent letters asking for payment because people displayed a meme that started life as one of their licences images.

 

You likely would not actually get sued but either given a C and D letter or sent a bill asking for a licensing fee.

 

Now if you should use a Meme in a game is entirely up to you.  Personally if it was quick free mobile match the meme game that takes a day to cobble together then I'd risk it and if I received a letter then Id remove it.  On the other hand if its an RPG that you are going to spend a time designing or a game that you intend on asking money for then yeah you better come up with another idea.

I have abandoned the idea. Shame. It was about to be a RPG about the war of memes though, so the "meme" part is essential :(

 

 

 

 

Pepe the frog is definitely someone's copyright, and you can find his name to ask permission. I don't know about the feel guy.

And indeed, the creator is very unhappy about Pepe's meme status...

 

He was very unhappy about that golden calfs meme status also.

 

j/k, please don't downvote.. :P

 

kek!

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Kek isn't copyrighted. Actually a steam game I have has all of it's badges set to kek references, and a trading card referencing people who transcended reality by sitting on their computers until they died.

 

"Make america great again: The trump presidency" on steam also has emoticons/cards very similar, but somewhat different to pepe.

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