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Now, we realize that they may not own the rights to the images on their site either, so how can we feel safe using those even if they said we could? We found one Grumpy Cat meme that read, Copyright Infringement? Good over her sweet little grouchy puss. But didnt dare use it.
So, we made our own.
Now, everyone and their uncle has shared a meme usually on Facebook (Grumpy Cat got her start on Reddit). Weve even used a meme or two in our posts. But, should the copyright holders decide to pursue the issue, who will they go after your grandma, or a business with (presumably) deep pockets?
My go-to for all things legal in social media responded to my query with, Its always best to get a copyright holder s permission. Fair use too often invites a challenge. My Facebook message to Grumpy Cat got no response at all.
How about a Knock-Off Meme?
Apparently those are fair game. How many Gangnam Style parodies have you seen? Even Home Depot got into the act with their meme, Richard the Cat. He hasnt really taken off like they hoped, but surely their lawyers did the research first.
Whats your take? Is it illegal to use wildly popular memes like Grumpy Cat for business use? Please share in the comments below.
Were not lawyers, and this is not intended to be legal advice! Always consult your lawyer when in doubt. We ARE, however, online marketing specialists, and its our job to keep on top of the issues that come up as our online world expands. If you would like to use social media for your business, but you dont have the time developing the skills and carrying out the work, were happy to help! Contact us for a free review of your current efforts. Were happy to offer suggestions, and we promise no hard sells! Trust me, I dont even know how