What's In A Meme?
In a fund-raising email, with the subject-line "Fight For The Memes", Christian Romero of the EFF Membership Team wrote of memes:
"Support your right to have fun online."
"Dear Supporter of Digital Freedom,
One of the internet's great joys, for me at least, is seeing all the fun and creative ways that people use memes to express themselves. It can be a silly way to convey your feelings about a TV show, or even to critique the government. These fun images and videos are a great reminder about the freedom of expression and creativity the internet allows us to have.
But, for all the good the internet does, there are still those trying to bend its capabilities to take advantage of the users..."
I take issue. Does one have a right to have fun online? A "right? Strictly speaking, probably one does not have such a right, any more than one has a right to party, unless --like adverse possession-- it can be established by multiple years of continual use which is never legally challenged.
Memes are not enumerated in the Constitution. One does not even have the right to "happiness" or great joy, but only "the pursuit of happiness".
They cite an example of a meme, and interestingly, that meme was challenged by a songwriter and artist best known as Prince. That case took eleven years, and ended in a settlement. It may not have legally established that anyone has the right to use copyrighted music in their short, visual creation for sharing.
For anyone puzzled by the link I applied to "great joy", my earworm of the day is Marianne Faithful's line "danger is great joy" from her Witches' Song from the album Broken English.
My title, "What's In A Meme?" is inspired by a much-misunderstood, balcony scene soliloquy by Juliet in the Shakespearean play "Romeo and Juliet". I would call it a soliloquy rather than a monologue because she believes herself to be alone, and does not know that Romeo is eavesdropping. She says, "What's in a NAME?" and goes on to say that "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". By the way, "wherefore" meant --and still means-- closer to "why", but certainly not "where".
All the best,