Memes ‘Will Be Banned’ Under New EU Copyright Law, Warn Campaigners

Digital rights campaigners are warning that the law could lead to the destruction of the internet as we know it

A new copyright law from the European Union would lead to the banning of memes on the internet, campaigners are warning.

The EU Copyright Directive intends to protect the intellectual property rights of people who upload their material to the internet.

However, campaigners are warning the law will require “all content uploaded to the internet to be monitored and potentially deleted if a likeness to existing copyright is protected”.

The campaign against a particular provision of the directive, Article 13, warns that online platforms would be economically damaged if they were forced to comply with its expensive obligations.

The law would “destroy the internet as we know it” warn the campaigners, who add it would “allow big companies to control what we see and do online”.

Essentially, the campaigners are arguing the stringent copyright protections of Article 13 would damage the sharing of parody content and memes which, while themselves being original and creative works, are often developed from other people’s original content.

Memes including image macros — such as the stock photograph of a distracted boyfriend taken by photographer Antonio Guillem — are often shared without the approval of the copyright holder.

The campaign follows an open letter sent by academics from intellectual property research centres in Europe regarding the copyright directive.

The…

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