Experts are predicting the end of memes if the EU enforces a new revamped copyright law.
The regulations on the table will force websites to filter out text, audio, photos, and video posted by users if the image matches anything on the over-inflated database of copyrighted material.
In addition to memes being on the chopping block, the new restriction would also pertain to any still or moving images that contains copyrighted audio or even incidental posters or logos in the background.
The issue will be debated this month and advocates for privacy are concerned the new rules will violate human rights and be abused to further censor content on the web.
Remixes of music will also feel the effects of the new proposal hardest.
The new amendment, Article 13, threatens to make memes go the way of the dodo, alongside other user generated contributions. Without known photos or illustrations, memes–which are repurposed images to make a funny or poignant point, much like a political cartoon–cannot exist.
People speaking out against the law say it can “destroy the internet as we know it.”
“Should Article 13 of the Copyright Directive be adopted, it will impose widespread censorship of all the content you share online,” one campaign says.
Under the new rules, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter would be tasked with policing what is uploaded by users to their sites. Most of these sites are already under fire for silencing political speech and targeting conservative users.
The EU wants websites to control content with new technology that will recognize and block anything that holds a copyright. YouTube already has an algorithm that flags copyrighted material.
The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition has cautioned that “Some requirements contained in Article 13 can enable abusive behavior, thereby threatening freedom of expression and information.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit, along with 56 other rights organizations wrote their grievances in an open letter to lawmakers in Europe spelling out the slippery slope of Article 13.
“Article 13 appears to provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens’ communications if they are to have any chance of staying in business.”
feature image source: trolls on the Internet