© Potomac Avenue 2015
January 28, 2015 1:49 PM   Subscribe

 
Everyone's stealing everything online. Why should jokes be any different?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:52 PM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Jon King, the operator of a handful of hugely popular Twitter accounts, including @willlllywonka, says he makes $500 a day.

$2500 a week is hardly mega money for any 'hugely popular' comedy writer who's finding an audience - why would anyone get pissed off at this?

The speed and accuracy and spread of Twitter humour - 99 percent of which doesn't earn anyone any cash at all - is one of the more inventive fun things to have happened in the last 10 years; I'm thinking of spontaneously arising hashtags such as #FoxNewsFacts etc.
posted by colie at 2:15 PM on January 28, 2015


Funny how 30% of the WP article is just rehashing a previous New Yorker article.
posted by gertzedek at 2:32 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Everyone's stealing everything online. Why should jokes be any different?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:33 PM on January 28, 2015 [36 favorites]


Late Crackedalism
posted by oceanjesse at 2:34 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's a guy at work who posts a "funny" little message to the in-house social network every day--yes, we're one of those places--and every day you can google the key words from his joke, and it's some tweet stolen from MensHumor or something.

Part of me wants to just bust him out on it in the comments, but then again, why do I care?

I mean, in theory, he's stealing credit for somebody else's work, but he's not making any money off it, unless somebody decides that a guy that consistently funny must be worth promoting, but...so? I mean, good for him, maybe?

I think that the idea of plagiarism is going to seem antiquated a lot sooner than we expect, and the idea of calling a mash-up out as a separate thing, other than just putting it into the toolbox with other tools, will be seen as old timey.
posted by turntraitor at 2:45 PM on January 28, 2015


The @ozchrisrock account is so strange. Anyone can steal jokes. But to pick a specific comedian known for witty social commentary and then choose the right tweets to steal to fit that voice seems like it takes actual work and talent. Plus then having to avoid the legal wrath of that comedian. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing built to push sponsored tweets.
posted by mullacc at 2:56 PM on January 28, 2015


I think that the idea of plagiarism is going to seem antiquated a lot sooner than we expect

It's built into Tumblr.
posted by cashman at 2:57 PM on January 28, 2015


I'm not sure I can remember why anyone cares about anything.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:58 PM on January 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


The extent and breadth to which photographs are reproduced online outside of copyright is breath-taking. Even among journalists and outlets who know better.
posted by koavf at 3:14 PM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's built into Tumblr.

Wait, what? Attribution is built into Tumblr. Am I misinterpreting you?
posted by phooky at 3:28 PM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


The @ozchrisrock account is so strange. Anyone can steal jokes. But to pick a specific comedian known for witty social commentary and then choose the right tweets to steal to fit that voice seems like it takes actual work and talent.

That guy stole one of my friend's jokes verbatim, and the only way it resembled Chris Rock was that it was about race (and pretty funny.) It was MLK Day and I think ozchrisrock just looked for jokes about MLK. And then stole the one he liked best. That's all that dude does.
posted by joechip at 3:31 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


It always confuses me that most people don't share the burning world-fire of hatred for joke-thieves that comedians have. I know it's probably over the top but, I guess part of the anger is because it simultaneously degrades the act of creativity itself, making a joke nothing more than a nugget of content that comes from nowhere, but at the same time bestows popularity and money on those rapacious enough to collect and repurpose jokes as if they came up with them. Worst of all, fans of these shitposting croppers just don't even know or care what a joke is or how it comes to be. They bray and click the heart and are thankful they aren't challenged by anything on their way through the internet. Anyway. Fuck joke thieves.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:46 PM on January 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Wait, what? Attribution is built into Tumblr. Am I misinterpreting you?

Nope, you aren't. The original poster on Tumblr gets lost almost immediately. Some people are good about linking the original tumblr that posted something but the vast majority of the time it's buried in 5000 reposts, of which the first 10 or 50 are displayed.
posted by cashman at 3:47 PM on January 28, 2015


Worst of all, fans of these shitposting croppers just don't even know or care what a joke is or how it comes to be. They bray and click the heart and are thankful they aren't challenged by anything on their way through the internet.

Yep. But that's society at this point. There is so much content to navigate, to filter through, it's too much for people. And with the internet influencing how a lot of people perceive time, 5 years ago might as well have been last century. It's not about the content, it's how it was repurposed -- as an original thing only because it appears where it does at the time the viewer experiences it.

There was this R&B singer, Truth Hurts, who sang over a beat with a sample in it, and in an interview she was hyping the song up, and described how good the beat was and said something akin to 'and we got that indian girl on the track'. And that 'girl' is actually one of the most legendary singers in the history of music.

Unlike here, where reposts are deleted, there are numerous sites I'm on now where nobody cares about reposts. Nothing gets done. There will be 4, 5 posts with the same title or the same information, and you just comment in whichever one you feel like commenting in. It's like the depth of information out there has just overwhelmed people to the point where originality, or the genesis of something is irrelevant. It's all about when you as the viewer, experience it. Start talking about where something originally came from, and nobody cares.
posted by cashman at 3:58 PM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Huh. I primarily interact with tumblr through the dashboard, where almost every post has a source link in the upper right hand corner. I'm realizing now that themes tend to obscure or omit that link. It would be nice to have a simple parameter we could tag on the end of a url to remove the theme...
posted by phooky at 4:01 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I also tend to interact with tumblr through the dashboard, as do most tumblr users, I think; attribution is one of the nicest things I think tumblr has going for it.

And speaking of tumblr, this comic by Nedroid is maybe my favorite piece of art on this thread's subject.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:22 PM on January 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Holy fuck. Stealing jokes we've been doing for years. Sharing jokes, even online, by ordinary people is not plagiarism.

It has about nothing in common with someone stealing an entire thesis and then becoming a senator or whatever. God. I can't believe I have to explain this to a newspaper.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:41 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sharing jokes, even online, by ordinary people is not plagiarism.

It certainly isn't! In fact, I just did it, by linking to a site where one could read a joke. However, it most certainly would be plagiarism if I took that comic and put it up on my site, under my name, without any attribution of its original author, leading people to believe that I had written it.

That type of plagiarism on twitter (where the retweet button is a clear way to easily link to a joke and its author at the same time it is shared) seems to be what the author of the WaPo article is objecting to.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:47 PM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have a very close family member who does this. He posts funny little comments to Facebook that everyone likes and they almost always turn out to be from somewhere else. He's 24 and should know better. Is he hurting anyone? No, I guess not. But it annoys the fuck out of me.
posted by Biblio at 5:55 PM on January 28, 2015


$2500 a week is hardly mega money for any 'hugely popular' comedy writer who's finding an audience - why would anyone get pissed off at this?

$130K a year seems like pretty good money to me.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:01 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Everyone's stealing everything online. Why should jokes be any different?"
-Abraham Lincoln
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:29 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


‘I am unable to comment on who may or may not be Banksy, but anyone described as ‘good at drawing’ doesn’t sound like Banksy to me.’

-Banksy
posted by clavdivs at 8:13 PM on January 28, 2015


President of the Internet? Has anyone told the incumbent?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:14 PM on January 28, 2015


It isn't stealing, it's homage.
posted by Chitownfats at 8:56 PM on January 28, 2015


A joke is a collaboration between the teller, the audience and the wider context. Even professional comedians base their original creations on this collaboration. It's like folk music used to be. One of our last remaining oral traditions.

Technology is messing with it in complex ways like it does with everything, but the fact that some guys are going to make money from redistributing parts of this collaboration in different (less creative?) ways than the comedian guys that first figured out how to make money from it (chat in bars, amuse friends, keep a notebook, hire a manager, play gigs, hustle) is no big deal.
posted by colie at 11:36 PM on January 28, 2015


I always say, stealing a joke is like stealing a frog that was otherwise going to be dissected, and then taking that frog to a Priest, a Rabbi and an Imam who live in a bar on a desert island and the barman says, "why did you cross the road, long-face?" and you think, "Sheesh, you fuck one lousy chicken ...".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:20 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always say, stealing a joke is like stealing a frog that was otherwise going to be dissected, and then taking that frog to a Priest, a Rabbi and an Imam who live in a bar on a desert island and the barman says, "why did you cross the road, long-face?" and you think, "Sheesh, you fuck one lousy chicken ...".

How do you splash a MEMEGENERATOR.COM watermark diagonally across the middle of that, and then dump an ebaumsworld.com watermark on top of that, before sending as a twitter pic?
posted by FatherDagon at 6:32 AM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


parts of this collaboration in different (less creative?) ways

Weird as hell that you put a question mark after "less creative"; yes, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the person who created a joke is more creative than the person who told it without creating it.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:31 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


It isn't stealing, it's homage.

If this is anyone other than dildo_egg_fartlordxxx696969, you're stealing my bit!
posted by Copronymus at 8:54 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


TWENTY BUCKS, SAME AS IN TOWN. © me, right now.
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:56 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


A joke is a collaboration between the teller, the audience and the wider context. Even professional comedians base their original creations on this collaboration. It's like folk music used to be. One of our last remaining oral traditions.

Which is why professional comedians are notoriously indifferent to joke theft.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:52 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Who can even say where jokes come from? They are likely plucked from the ineffable air floating above an audience, their structures created by the wind itself as it speeds merrily on its way from word-town
posted by Greg Nog at 1:06 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nope, you aren't. The original poster on Tumblr gets lost almost immediately.

A link back to the OP's blog is on the top right of every individual post on your dashboard. If you're talking about people saving other people's artwork images and then reposting them without attribution then yes, this happens all the fucking time.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:27 AM on January 30, 2015


The @ozchrisrock account is so strange. Anyone can steal jokes. But to pick a specific comedian known for witty social commentary and then choose the right tweets to steal to fit that voice seems like it takes actual work and talent.

That guy stole one of my friend's jokes verbatim, and the only way it resembled Chris Rock was that it was about race (and pretty funny.) It was MLK Day and I think ozchrisrock just looked for jokes about MLK. And then stole the one he liked best. That's all that dude does.
What weirds me out about that account and ones like it isn't the joke-stealing itself--it's the trying to pass it off as belonging to a third party. Which, maybe they think it makes them more likely to get notoriety and followers and whatever by using someone else's name, but...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 3:36 PM on February 2, 2015


I think it's just name-stealing in addition to joke-stealing, and both do indeed help in getting retweets and followers; if one doesn't realize that that funny joke in one's feed is NOT the actual Chris Rock, one might be more likely to retweet it, since the joke appears to have his imprimatur, and Chris Rock's general sentiments about the world are a known quantity that telegraphs his moral stances (as opposed to the same joke made by a rando who might be a neo-nazi or something).

Joke-stealing allows someone to profit without doing the difficult work of writing a joke, but name-stealing allows them to profit without the far more difficult work of building a consistently moral life.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:03 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


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