The Brief: A piece of EU legislation has passed that could, among other things, threaten the free circulation of memes.
The European Parliament has voted in favor of a controversial Copyright Directive. While supporters of the directive argue that it will support content creators, allowing them to be compensated when their work is viewed on other platforms many internet users see this piece of legislation as a significant threat to online freedom. According to critics, article 11, “the link tax” and 13, “the upload filter,” could have devastating consequences for internet users.
The exact implications and implementation of the Copyright Directive are to be determined and remain subject to change by the European Parliament.
Article 13 could pose threats to the freedom of the circulation of memes online, by requiring internet platforms to use software that filters unlicensed copyrighted material. Although memes would usually be protected as parodies, there is currently no way for software to recognize something as a parody.
Many meme makers are expressing their outrage in meme form, both poking fun at the situation, and illustrating the potentially catastrophic effects it could have on this form of online expression.
To give a better explanation, the worst part of this law is the automated copyright filters, that big social media companies are going to be forced to implement. "Parodies" are actually an exception in the text, but bots can't distinguish parodies from actual infringement anyway.
— Dr Grandayy (@grandayy) September 12, 2018