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Mother of “Success Kid” meme, orders Congressman Steve King to stop using her copyrighted content

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The mother of a child featured in the popular “Success Kid” image that is often turned into a meme, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to US Congressman Steve King, who used it on Facebook “without permission.”

The Daily Dot says that Laney Griner first uploaded the image of her child in 2007 – a baby with a clenched fist, taken expression of “either success or frustration” – and it has since taken on a life of its own online.

The image became a meme, but has also been used as an avatar often paired with the phrases ‘Ima f*ck you up,’ or ‘I Hate Sandcastles’,” – as well as for charitable causes and in advertising campaigns, according to Know Your Meme.

Griner, in the meanwhile, “copyrighted the image to protect it from wrongful use (sic)”, the Daily Dot reports.

None of the mentioned previous use-cases appeared to qualify, but Griner took serious issue when King, a Republican – decided to use a meme based on the picture.

Griner described the policies of the Iowa congressman as “divisive and vitriolic,” his Facebook posts as “hateful and negative” – and in general, as against her personal beliefs, and “the image’s reputation” – which she believes to be positive and uplifting.

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King posted the image in a meme with superimposed text reading, “FUND OUR MEMES!!!”

The article said this an online campaign that has since been removed. But screenshots show that its purpose was to raise funds to protect the right to post memes – essentially jokes, which are nonetheless becoming increasingly censored and vilified online, and even fact-checked for “misinformation.”

King’s post was certainly not shy of provoking his ideological rivals, by stating that donating for the cause would “make sure the memes keep flowing and the Lefties stay triggered.”

To use King’s term, it’s unclear if Giner is a “Leftie” – as she has in the past licensed the image to such seemingly diverse entities and causes as Coca Cola, Honey Bunches, and former US President Barack Obama’s immigration reform campaign.

But, she was certainly “triggered” now – sending a cease-and-desist, demanding that any funds King may have raised be transferred to her, and she also wants “a public statement admitting to the ‘unauthorized exploitation of ‘Success Kid’.”

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