We all have gotten a good laugh off of internet memes. So much so that we may even have reposted these memes onto our own social media accounts. And, for your everyday human, this often does not cause any legal disputes. Because, let’s get real here, what multi-million follower meme account is going to care that you reposted their meme without giving credit. Ludacris, on the other hand, didn’t get away with reposting a meme so easily.
Ludacris has been slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit after he posted another party’s meme on his Instagram. According to the plaintiff, ““Defendant’s cyber-piracy and infringing activities display a conscious disregard for Little Things’ intellectual property rights and are calculated to, and actually do, deceive consumers about the source and quality of the respective products and services offered by Little Things and defendant.”
Little Things argues that Ludacris was unjustly enriched by posting this meme (since he included and iTunes link to his newest song in the caption section on Instagram). The company thus seeks a “worldwide accounting and disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains” resulting form Ludacris’ actions (i.e. him reposting the meme; i.e. trying to give his followers a laugh; i.e. if you follow Ludacris and saw the below meme make sure to take back your laugh).
Look, we know the importance of protecting intellectual property and ensuring that all appropriate measures are taken to give credit to individuals in various creative industries. And this is especially important if the defendants are intending to be malicious and making profits of of the stolen work.
Take, for example, the Charles Schmidt and Christopher Orlando Torres lawsuits a few years back. These men were the creators of the “Keyboard Cat” and “Nyan Cat” memes, and filed a lawsuit in 2013 against 5th Cell Media and Warner Bros. It turns out that these huge companies used the cat characters without the creators’ permission in video game, Scribblenauts, and its sequels.
Now, did Ludacris have the intention of stealing any profits from Little Things? No. Quite frankly, we’re not even sure what this meme had to do with his new song or why he decided to share this picture with a link to iTunes – we’re guessing he just thought it was funny. Should he have given credit to Little Things? Yes. Although we can see that Ludacris did in fact keep the company’s logo in the frame on the bottom right-hand corner of the Instagram post. Is this the most pressing IP related concern happening right now? … NO!
Talk about a ludicrous lawsuit…
Information gathered from The Fashion Law.