Re: The problem I have so far...
"It's just... if you're strongly asserting the rights of artists, then that *has* to interact with the practice of slapping dumb jokes on random photos someone else took, right?"
Yes. Most of us like a laugh, and few of us object in practice to people *having a laugh* with our work. There's even a UK copyright exception - the Parody exception - legalising this, which was introduced in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
When, however, people start to make money off our work without our permission or paying us a bit if we ask for it, or using our work without our permission to promote ideas or organisations we object to, then we tend to get a bit shirty and need legislative tools with which to put a stop to it.
Those of us whose entire income is based on licensing the copyright works we create - i.e. the work was only created in the first place to provided us with an income stream, not just for fun or 'art' - are particularly sensitive to this. We don't want rich internet corporations or pompous, self-righteous, deluded 'academics' from syphoning off part of our potential income. We can't afford it.
If you want to use my work and ask me nicely first I am likely to say yes, and make it affordable for you. If you just arrogantly use it without asking first, because 'remix culture', 'open culture' or 'digital democracy', I'm likely to take the hump. I'm a bit old-fashioned that way and tend to think: 'It took me 10,000 hours to learn to do that. If you can't ask me nicely first you can fuck off and make your own.'
I think this attitude is not unreasonable.