Introduction to Law and Technology Final Project
Joel Sircus and Stephanie Rivkin
When three former PayPal employees launched YouTube in 2005, they irreversibly revolutionized the digital world. With the company’s founding, everyone with access to a computer and Internet connection instantly became capable of writing, directing, and producing videos, then disseminating their creations to an audience on the order of one and a half billion people. Internet users started taking advantage of this interactive service, creating videos by the millions. What materialized was a culture of creators; a growing cadre of people who made movies running the full gamut from inane to genius. The Internet video meme – a movie posted to the Internet that accrues a large following and catalyzes many adaptations – became one of the pillars upon which YouTube achieved its unrivaled success. While the creation of YouTube sparked the Internet meme boom, 2005 was not the movement’s genesis. Long before the do-it-yourself video posting service went live, perspicacious Internet users found alternate ways to create and broadcast videos, partake in the idolatry of the idiosyncratic, esoteric cultural movements, and, en masse, create numerous adaptations of these aforementioned movies.
Looking specifically at the development of one meme, entitled Chin 2, we question what are the underlying intentions of those who propagate and adapt these, at times, mindless videos? What, if anything, about a specific meme contributes to the fecundity of the original creation, and what do the adaptations say about the original meme? Lastly, what does this increasingly popular Internet trend say about us as a society and the path down which we are headed vis-à-vis our sources of entertainment and our searches for intellectual enrichment? By analyzing the original Chin2 video and many of its bastardized versions, we hope to shed light on what exactly defines an Internet video meme, why they are originally created, and how one specifically catches fire and is catapulted into digital stardom.
Through our research we communicated with the creators of two adapted versions and we filmed a video of our own. Enjoy!