On November 14, 2007, then-candidate Barack Obama gave a speechat Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California in which he promised, “I will take a back seat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality. Because once providers start to privilege some applications or websites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out and we all lose.”

Less than a year after President Obama took office, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened a formal debate on network neutrality. Just over a month ago, however, a federal court’sdecision threw a monkey wrench into the FCC’s plans to fulfill President Obama’s commitment.
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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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Science-fiction author and futurist Arthur C. Clarke famously formulated three laws of prediction, the first of which posits: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” The same could be said of copyright law.

If you believe categorically that something is not copyrightable, you may well be wrong. You have a much better shot at being right if you conclude that this something possibly could be copyrightable, because the answer to the question “Is it subject to copyright protection?” is, more often than not, “It depends.” In other words, the law of copyright is weird, wacky and wonderful.
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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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