The internet is flooded with memes and the creative wits know no ends. The connection between two events and fictional situations is made and the whole new level of entertainment is created. Some memes are so funny and interesting that they deserve to win the highest honor in the field of creativity. These memes are relatable and shared in huge amount. All the social media platforms have been sharing these pictures depicting various characters, situations, and fun. Specific pages have been created that only post memes. These memes will disappear if they are banned as per new guidelines of European Union (EU).
According to the news from BBC, memes, user-generated content, and remix would be banned if the EU’s copyright rules become law. The campaign against the Copyright Directive by digital rights groups will be successful if the European Parliament votes in favor of them. This legislation will provide protection to right-holders in the age of the internet. This will affect memes, which are immensely popular around the globe. Critics of the campaign outlined that there was a misinterpretation of the way people have been engaging with the web content. Moreover, this campaign poses an excessive risk of censorship. Moreover, they claimed that all internet platforms need to filter out content posted by users and there may be a further restriction on the liberty of speech. Concerns have been raised about the proposal which will rely on algorithms to restrict content that might be copyrighted and put the platform in jeopardy.
The Copyright Directive would try to transform copyright regulation for the internet. It would reshape the relationship between online platforms and copyright holders. Article 13 outlined that platform providers need to “take measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rights-holders for the use of their works”.
A campaign against Article 13 – Copyright 4 Creativity – outlined that these proposals would result in the destruction of the internet. It said, “Should Article 13 of the Copyright Directive be adopted, it will impose widespread censorship of all the content you share online.”
Jim Killock, executive director of the UK’s Open Rights Group, told the BBC, “Article 13 will create a ‘Robo-copyright’ regime, where machines zap anything they identify as breaking copyright rules, despite legal bans on laws that require ‘general monitoring’ of users to protect their privacy.”
Mr. Killock explained that the algorithms would determine the duplicate uploads of songs of Drake, but it will not detect the parodies of his songs. Moreover, these algorithms cannot determine memes which have used copyrighted images and judge what creative people have been doing. He opined that the EU’s approach of robocop applied to hate speech, extremism, and other offensive & hate-generating content would be disastrous.
There have been mixed reactions about the new regulations and the campaign against banning memes. The regarding Article 13 has been raised by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and 56 other rights organizations in an open letter to European lawmakers in October last year. It outlined, “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.”
Though these images have been used for entertainment purposes, there are popular pages that have been gaining monetary benefits by posting this type of content. There will be consequences if the proposal becomes a law. There need to be careful considerations about what propositions are made and their effects.