Converting The Meme-able Into Money-Earning IP?
November 17, 2019 9:08 PM   Subscribe

Whoever invented Duck/Rickrolling never got paid, but at least Rick did in a way. "This is fine" didn't earn its creator a fraction of its actual, cultural worth, but plenty of people /companies did well out of it by proxy. Fruitless litigation aside, what (if any) are proven or possible ways of converting something meme-able into some sort of income stream for the creator?

Yes, I feel dirty for asking the question.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Pretty basic answer would be merchandising — you can't really try to make money off people who will post and message your image or video around, because they don't have money to give you in that context.

But what you can do is take advantage of the sudden notoriety and make sure that you register your creation at the usual shops so people can order shirts, pins, prints, etc.

Another thing is to make sure that you defend your IP in the most obvious ways — the "This is fine" guy (KC Green) was contacted by (I think) the Colbert Report or someone like them, asking if they could use the graphic. He said yeah, I'll license it to you for $FEE. Eventually they caved. He also went after a few high-profile abuses of the graphic, like newspapers and such, not in a big legal way if I remember correctly, but just telling them, "hey this is my creation and you're using it without permission etc." You can't do that with every forum or platform but you can get the majors.

Then you can make sure that the item in question is associated with your brand. For a lot of people revenue streams depend on visitors to their website where there may already be a shop, ads, etc. If someone like KC Green can make sure that when people search for "this is fine" they end up coming to his site 95% of the time, that's a huge source of traffic. Sometimes this means going directly to search providers.

Anyway that's a start! Basically you gotta ride the wave, not try to redirect or control it.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:46 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

When someone's tweet goes viral, they tend to reply with "please follow my soundcloud" or "here's an indiegogo I think you should support".
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:16 PM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think the best example I can think of when it comes to meme monetization is Grumpy Cat.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 4:37 AM on November 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

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