DMCA

Oh, the halcyon days of the summer of ’07! Your kids (or you) were enthralled with their first chance to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Your 401(K) balance probably had an extra zero or two on the end of it. The “steroid era of baseball” was a mere virtual certainty, rather than a documented fact. None of us had ever heard of a collateralized debt obligation or credit default swap. And I, but a baby lawyer, was enthralled with this crazy new lawsuit filed by Viacom against Google, alleging that Google was itself responsible for $1 billion worth of copyright infringement on its recently-acquired YouTube service. And oh, how the world has changed in these last three years! Teenage vampires have supplanted teenage wizards, you can safely assume that the slugger in your kid’s little league was juicing, we’re all experts on the vagaries of inventing nonexistent wealth with inscrutable financial instruments and then destroying it with other inscrutable financial instruments, and the Viacom lawsuit…well, that’s still going.
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In 1968, Andy Warhol exhibited his first international retrospective at the Moderna Museet gallery in Stockholm. The exhibition catalogue contained the well-known phrase: “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” Warhol repeated that phrase in 1979, stating that his “prediction from the sixties finally came true.” Now that we live in a world in which a video clip can go viral within hours, Warhol’s “prediction” seems more like an understatement — though if Warhol could see the “Numa Numa” guy for himself, he might not actually take much pride in his predictive powers.

Unfortunately — or, for those who view the Internet as an all-you-can-eat buffet to their insatiable appetite for attention, fortunately — more and more people are finding themselves thrust into surprising (and often unwanted) Internet stardom. So, what can you do if you become an unwilling Internet meme? (That is, besides closing your eyes and waiting for your 15 minutes to expire.) Well, it depends.
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There is an old Chinese proverb which cautions against drawing attention to something you are trying to conceal. As the story goes, a man named Zhang built a small fortune of 300 ounces of silver through hard work. Fearful that someone might steal his fortune, Zhang decided that the best thing to do was bury it. After burying the money, Zhang then had a brilliant idea to further ensure his money’s security. He decided to mark the spot with a sign that read: “This land does not have 300 ounces of silver buried here.”
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