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SXSW Interactive 2013

Lulzmaking as Activism: Political Web Parodies

Creating a website that attracts attention is difficult; creating a website that draws attention to a political issue is even harder. Luckily, political activists have a secret weapon at their disposal: humor. By creating a satirical website, you can generate press, engage even non-political users and enrage your opponents. But wait, isn't it illegal to use the names, logos and designs of large corporations and organizations? Won't I get sued? Probably not! We'll tell you why the law is on your side as a political prankster and how to best use it to your advantage. In this session, we'll show you some of our favorite examples of online political parodies, walk you through how to build your own and tell you how to fight back when your opponents come knocking. Your hosts for this session are an attorney with years of experience in copyright policy and an interactive designer who helped build a parody site, got threatened with a lawsuit and lived to tell the tale.

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  1. Why should I build a political web parody?
  2. What types of targets and issues make for the most effective parodies?
  3. What are some examples of thought-provoking, hilarious, effective web parodies from the past year?
  4. Won't I get sued if I use the names/logos/designs of large corporations and organizations?
  5. What do I do if I get a cease & desist letter from one of the corporations/organizations that I satirized?


  • Mehan Jayasuriya, Graduate student, NYU ITP
  • Michael Weinberg, Vice President, the Institute for Emerging Innovation, Public Knowledge


Mehan Jayasuriya, Graduate student, NYU ITP

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