Do memes infringe copyright?

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a new meme (such as the fantabulous “Karma’s a bitch“) I don’t think about how it became popular, who created, or even if it is appropriate. My first thought is always “what are the copyright implications”?  Yes, I need help. I seem not to be alone in this, there are a growing number of scholarly articles dedicated at answering the most pressing legal question of our time (a few examples here, here and here). Most articles I’ve seen analyse US law,  and there the consensus appears to be that some memes would be covered under fair use, but it may well depend on the amount that has been copied from the original, and whether the use is commercial in nature. Unless I am missing something (please send suggestions), there has been practically no academic interest in this subject from either a UK or European perspective. Perhaps my colleagues think that this is a frivolous topic, or…

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