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Friday, October 2, 2009

About This Glenn Beck Internet Meme

Posted by Matt Davis on Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Friday afternoons were made for stories like this:

WIPO is considering a domain name dispute between conservative commentator Glenn Beck and the owner of a satire site called

Beck is suing the proprietor of the site, claiming that it's a violation of the "trademark of his name." Can't sue in regular court, because of the first amendment as it relates to satire. The site's proprieters are defending the trademark allegations, saying Beck doesn't understand the nature of "internet memes."

Instead of doing any real work, this is a good time to start laughing your ass off at the full pdf of the legal brief. Of which a fragment:

“The term Internet meme is a phrase used to describe a catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet, much like an esoteric inside joke.”2 See Internet For Beginners (Annex B)

From “Mr. Spock Ate My Balls,” (defunct) to ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US3 to “Leeroy Jenkins”4 to a slew of sub-memes based on the movie “300”5, internet memes are as old as the internet itself, and almost as ubiquitous as actual cybersquatters. See Squidoo “Top 10 Internet Memes” (Annex C). Memes are often puzzling to those who have never encountered them before, and they are similarly puzzling to the subjects of the memes when they involve real people.

Memes often involve famous people, and they are often unflattering. Richard Gere has never dignified the infamous “Gerbil story” meme with a response, even though the story is nasty and false, and it too has entered the culture as an irrepressible meme, even making an appearance in The Simpsons, Episode 183. This is the price of celebrity — you just might wind up in a meme, and you might not deserve it. Richard Gere did nothing to bring the meme monster to his door. On the other hand, Mr. Beck has all but begged to become the subject of a meme.

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