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The Daily Dot: Getty claims copyright on Socially Awkward Penguin, forces site to pay $868

Posted by Soledad Vega on Fri, 09/04/2015 - 14:00

Illustration by Max Fleishman

Copyright law can have such chilling and punitive effects on free expression that it acts as a form of censorship. Even our memes are being censored! 

Article by Kevin Collier for The Daily Dot

Well, this is awkward. 

Getty Images has threatened a lawsuit against a German blog for using the image macro used in the popular Socially Awkward Penguin meme without permission. 

The blog Digital Week says it had to cough up €785.40 ($868.39) for using the image of the penguin, which was shot by George Mobley by National Geographic. Getty handles the photo’s licensing.

As part a legal demand from Getty, the Digital Week says, it had to not only pay up, but also delete the images and stay quiet about the entire affair. On that last point, though, it’s refused, both writing about it on its blog and even releasing a cartoon version of the meme into the public domain.

In a statement emailed to the Daily Dot, Getty confirmed that it has “pursued certain uses of the Getty Images photo in question in instances where it has been used without a license.”

“We believe in protecting copyright and the livelihoods of photographers and other artists who rely on licensing to earn a living and fund the creation of new works,” a Getty spokesperson wrote. “Getty Images has an immense responsibility to the 200,000+ artists we work with to ensure that their work is properly licensed when used by commercial entities. Bear in mind that many artists themselves are small businesses, and are entitled to be paid for their work.”

- Read more at The Daily Dot