Take an image, add a caption. Congratulations — you’ve made a meme! Of course, its popularity isn’t guaranteed, but if your hastily-made piece of visual commentary did circulate en masse, you might want to make sure the image you use isn’t from Getty. Otherwise, the company could try to make a few bucks out of protecting its copyrights from anyone careless enough to post it.
As German blog Get Digital discovered — well, more accurately, its “blog project” Geek Sisters — Getty isn’t shy about chasing down bloggers who reuse its images without paying for them. In this particular case, Geek Sisters used the “Social Awkward Penguin” meme, with the penguin in question apparently from Getty’s repository of stock images.
Obviously, Geek Sisters didn’t create the meme and the thing is all over the internet, but as soon as you’re a tangible target, rather than a random person on a forum somewhere, the odds of being snapped increase dramatically.
According to Get Digital, Getty requested the sum of €785.4 ($1266). After some electronic back and forth, the site decided to pay the fee… and then create its own free version of the meme:
Images: Get Digital