More likely than not, you have heard about Article 13, the law signed by Axel Voss, otherwise known as the “internet killer law” or the “meme killer law.”.
However, you may not know that the law does not explicitly target social media and memes, but targets copyright infringement. It says that if you share any copyrighted content, you must get permission from the owners (CNET). Since copyright means that anything and everything that is ever created by anyone is copyrighted by its creator, regardless of their decision to register it for a copyright, this means that things like social media are hit the worst.
For all the citizens of the EU, all those meme compilations that they have seen on YouTube are gone. Most of the memes that they view on platforms like Reddit, Instagram, or Twitter, are also now banned, assuming they are not original. However, memes themselves are not banned, it’s simply already used memes that are banned. This would mean that users can make their own original memes as long as they don’t use some sort of “meme format,” (otherwise known as a consistently used picture in memes) or a re-post of an older meme they can’t get in trouble. Article 13 also forces all online platforms to stop the uploading of copyrighted content, or make people get permission to upload that content” (CNET). Of course, Article 13 is a European law, so Americans won’t be affected, but if you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network, it lets you pretend you live somewhere else on the internet) just be sure to not use any European servers.
The passing of article 13 could also strangle the freedom of the internet. As we all know, the internet is designed to allow data and information to flow freely between the hands of its users, therefore giving us a more connected world. But if the tech giants like Apple and Google have to be overbearing internet police on digital intellectual property, we could have another “big brother sees all” situation, where the people have no freedom in what they post because larger powers are controlling what we post.
Another questionable law passed by the EU is Article 11. If you’ve ever seen a website that had a small clip from a news company’s video, those companies that run the websites will now have to pay those news companies, because (as you guessed it) the clip is copyrighted (CNET). This is now a lack of incentive for people to use the news on their sights, therefore directly slowing the spread of information, which could possibly lead to a rise in misinformation and fake news all around the European Union.