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How do popular Meme sites get away with copyrights?

using stills from motion pictures

     
9:06 pm on Oct 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I was making a meme the other day (don't ask, LoL) and it got me thinking.

Not going to mention any sites, you all know them anyway. If you look at the most popular Meme Generators out there, they all have hundreds of meme backgrounds most of which involve famous people.

Let's take "One Simply Does Not" meme for example. The one from the Lord of the Rings. I can't imagine New Line Cinema having released this into Public Domain.

So, are they all blatantly infringing on copyrights or is there a loophole I'm not aware of? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
9:49 pm on Oct 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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In the USA "Fair Use" usually covers this under copyright as a parody or derivative work. That does not mean that some copyright holders won't issue a challenge if they deem it as either infringing or damaging of their copyright and intellectual property.
9:50 pm on Oct 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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using stills from motion pictures

Are they technically stills-- that is, pictures taken by a still photographer at approximately the same time as filming-- or individual frames from the actual movie? It could make a difference.
10:33 pm on Oct 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@lucy, if I'm honest, I think the way these meme backgrounds originated was when somebody did a screenshot from a YouTube video. They're not professionally made stills. In fact, all of them are low-resolution, low-quality images.

@tangor, thank you, I'll have to read up on "Fair Use".
 

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