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Elon Musk and Memes: A Controversy Over Giving Creators Credit

  • May 07, 2021

Miles Klee, a 36-year-old writer in Los Angeles, heard from a friend that a meme he had made in April about vaccinated people enjoying a promiscuous summer had been reposted by Mr. Musk. “Someone in my group chat was like, ‘LOL did everyone see how Elon straight up stole a meme that Miles made?’”

Mr. Klee isn’t angry at Mr. Musk, but found the behavior off-putting. “Of course he has his minions who are willing to defend what he does,” Mr. Klee said, “but for everyone else who is normal who has been on the internet for a long time, it’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s a wack move.’”

Chas Steinbrugge, 19, a college freshman who runs the meme account @Trigomemetry, is also the creator of Meme Citations, a website that provides the origins of memes in Modern Language Association format.

“Personalities like Elon Musk not giving credit, that does hurt the creators,” he said. “He could create a situation where he’s promoting young meme creators and contributing to the community by tagging whoever created it or including watermarks.”

Several people who have had their content posted by Mr. Musk have since asked for payment, be it in dollars, Teslas or Bitcoin. (Mr. Monahan said he was willing to accept a “mere $80,000.”)

Mr. Klee took a more novel approach. “Can anyone help me make and sell an NFT of a screen shot of Elon Musk posting a horny vaccine meme i made?” he asked his followers on Twitter. Someone turned the tweet into an NFT, which Mr. Klee was able to sell for $1,000 in Ethereum, a cryptocurrency.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/style/elon-musk-memes.html

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