It's not easy being meme: Techno Viking sues creator
January 27, 2013 6:25 AM Subscribe
posted by MartinWisse (69 comments total)
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You may dance like nobody's watching
, but what if your dancing is videoed
and becomes the base of an internet meme and subsequent cottage industry
, all without your knowledge and without you receiving any compensation for it? Should you have the right to stop this exploitation, or was the artist who first popularised you in his rights to create new artwork based on the original video? That's what's at stake in the lawsuit of the Techno Viking against Matthias Fritsch
Matthias Fritsch is the person who at a techno rave in Berlin created the original video, when one very Nordic dancer came into frame as he was shooting some street video. That was in 2000, some years before Youtube, to which Fritsch uploaded the video in 2006, where, via "an obscure Central American porn site", it went viral and started being memed. Once the still unknown Techno Viking came across this, he asked, then sued Fritsch to stop it.
Under German law, there is the right to control your own likeness
. This right is diminished in public and when you know you have the possibility to be videoed or photographed, as could be argued was the case here. The key question is therefore not so much whether Fritsch was in his right to videotape the Techno Viking, but whether the latter could've reasonably expected his image to become an internet meme.