Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

Richard K Popp

Committee Members

David Allen, Michael Newman


Advertising, Brands, Consumer culture, Copyright law, Internet memes, Participatory culture


This study investigates the impact of the EU digital copyright directive, Article 13, on memes and internet culture. Due to their transformative nature, it is tricky to fit memes into a traditional copyright framework. Article 13’s filter algorithms will be coded to detect posts that make use of intellectual property, thereby complicating the use of copyrighted images drawn from film and television. This study includes a discourse analysis of news coverage of Article 13 to explore how various groups characterized the value of meme culture and the threats posed by the new directive. It also includes a textual analysis of several social media advertising campaigns that utilized memes to promote products and build brand images. The thesis argues that the degree of diversity in meme culture will be threatened due to different state-based interpretations of copyright and that the use of memes as an advertising medium will likely be undermined.