By Todd Murray
Article 13 is a copyright law amendment created by the European Union (EU) that if passed could remove memes from all social media platforms because of copyright infringement.
Boiled down, Article 13 directs for online service providers to remove any unprotected works or subject matter if they aren’t in partnership with the original creator of said subject. For example, if someone posted a SpongeBob meme on Instagram and they aren’t partnered with Nickelodeon than it would be Instagrams job to remove it with, most likely, an automated filter.
Most social media websites and big companies such as Google, Youtube, Facebook, and Netflix are against this copyright law because of content creators and everyday users creative freedom being threatened to be shut down. Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki even promoted people on all social media platforms to spread the hashtag #SaveYourInternet.
Meme-loving students at DHS that know about the potential ban, aren’t too psyched about the future of social media if the law is passed.
DHS Jr. Lukas Minerich thinks social media without memes would be an unfunny wasteland.
“I find a lot of humor from memes and I believe without them, it would be hard to find any humor on social media, it would be a pretty stale place,” said Minerich.
Not only would everyday Instagram users not be able to see a meme pop up on the explore page but famous YouTubers that base their channels around memes would be out of content to create, causing them to lose their primary source of income.
It’s also a problem for young rappers that use different meme samples in their songs and music videos, surprisingly, there is a substantial amount of musicians pushing for the law to be passed because of the issue with the value gap. The value gap was mostly vocalized negatively from Beatles singer Sir Paul McCartney, as a problem with user-upload services like youtube not fairly returning enough revenue to the original creator of the songs.
“Seize the chance to restore fairness,” said McCartney.
Article 13 would solve the value gap and it’s why McCartney is very expressive about it being passed.
An issue with memes online to some is when it comes to original meme creators not getting the rightful credit for the meme that they created. According to DHS So. Ian Swan, he thinks credit is due but it isn’t always a necessity.
“Memes would never spread if consent was necessary every time one was reposted, completely ruining the point creating the meme,” said Swan.
If the point of Article 13 is to give the original content creators full control of their pieces of work than it seems meme creators would want the same, but according to the over four million opposing signatures delivered to the European Parliament, the common people of Europe are highly against it.
Article 13 is a clear controversial plan that if passed will be a way to fairly pay musicians but result in a complete loss of creative freedom to everyday people across the internet. January 2019 is the EU’s final vote so if you don’t see your favorite meme account while scrolling through your Instagram feed, you’ll know the winning team.