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Memes – viral content phenomenon (videos, images, phrases, music etc.) aired on the internet – are at the limit of freedom of expression and copyright, pointed out, on Wednesday, 01, the debaters of the webinar “Copyright and Memes ”, in the 6th edition of IP Meetings, a series of virtual events promoted by ABPI – Brazilian Association of Intellectual Property and WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization. Participating in the debate were lawyer Felipe Nunes Leite, founder of Moving Girls, Camila Vidal, and member of the WIPO Copyright and Creative Industries Division, Rafael Ferraz Vazquez, under the mediation of ABPI’s director, Valdir Rocha. The virtual table was integrated by the president of ABPI, Luiz Edgard Montaury Pimenta, and the Regional Director of WIPO in Brazil, José Graça Aranha, in addition to representatives of other associations.

For the WIPO representative, the fundamental elements inherent to copyright in relation to the meme are: exclusivity, remuneration and recognition. He raised for debate issues that are still unclear in countries’ intellectual property laws. Is the meme considered a literary and artistic work? Under what conditions can existing works be used without infringing copyright? Vazquez recalled that some countries, such as Canada, already have in their legislation some clauses that regulate the use of memes, while in Brazil, the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) defined instruction for the use of parody, one of the most used forms by this type of message. “The meme is a joke, but it can be a serious matter for those involved,” he said.

So serious that, recommends Leite, a specialist in the subject, when creating a meme and using an image on the internet, especially for commercial use, it is good to have the authorization of the holder of these rights. According to him, there is no general legal rule for the use of Internet content, which may or may not go viral, and each case must be analyzed separately. “Many of the violations of rights do not happen out of bad faith, but because of a lack of information,” he explained.

Disinformation in this specific case is a constant concern in the day-to-day life of the creator of Moving Girls, which triggers memes through its digital channels. Leader of an internet community of female entrepreneurship, with 336 thousand followers, Camila monetized some memes, which generate great traffic on her social networks. “There is a lack of objective information that can be easily applied to a business strategy,” he noted. “Memes, today, are more than a form of debauchery or satire, and characterize a diffusion of ideas and behaviors, making the company show its culture”.

You can follow the event by watching the full video on ABPI’s YouTube channel.