European Union considers meme ban

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In June of 2018, the European Union developed a new rule that could be the end of memes as we know it: Article 13. This new law is going to include censoring social media posts for copyright infringement, which is when someone uses a piece of creative content that belongs to someone else without legal right.

“How will this affect memes?” you might ask. Well, memes include several different forms of copyrighted digital media: GIFs, clips from music videos, movies, or tv shows, and random Google images. The owner of every piece of digital media involved in making a meme cannot be tracked down and asked permission to share their digital artwork with the world.

After the development of Article 13 was announced to the public, the internet turned into chaos. Article 13 was given an entirely new name. It was nicknamed the “Meme Ban.” Internet-famous meme accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms have one question: Will Article 13 bring an end to our accounts and internet popularity?

To ensure that every single piece of digital media being shared is free from copyright, each and every social media post will have to be thoroughly and explicitly censored. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube will have to put a software in place that will automatically regulate posts and verify that the post does not commit copyright infringement.

The executive director of the United Kingdom’s Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, stated in an interview with BBC, “Unfortunately, while machines can spot duplicate uploads of Beyonce songs, they can’t spot parodies, understand memes that use copyright images, or make any kind of cultural judgment about what creative people are doing. We see this all too often on YouTube already.

“Add to that, the European Union wants to apply the Robocop approach to extremism, hate speech, and anything else they think they can get away with, once the put it in place for copyright. This would be disastrous.”

Luckily for meme lovers far and wide, it is a very long and tedious process to approve a law. And in addition to that, it is going to take some time before all of the softwares needed to censor social media posts will be applied. Also, with the huge amount of backlash and chaos surrounding the development of Article 13, the European Union is starting to reassess the Article and whether its purpose is even necessary.

Fortunately for us Americans, the USA will not be impacted by this new Article. It may be the end of memes for the European Union, but we’re safe for now.