We told you a couple of months back about the controversial “meme ban” the European Union was considering.
Supposedly put forth to protect content creators, the law has become the butt of Internet jokes and the thing of nightmares for free-speech advocates around the world.
What has really attracted a lot of attention is the Article 13 provision of the law that mandates that big tech companies implement everything from filters for content to some kind of system of remuneration for creators that have their work stolen.
Where this law gets its sobriquet is from the idea that people who have taken the pictures and/or are featured in the pictures used for memes could, in theory, file copyright claims against people who use these pictures.
To people who work in tech, forcing companies to filter and approve every single item ever uploaded to a platform to make sure it doesn’t violate copyright is close to insane.
Advocates of the law think it is making tech companies like Google and Facebook pay their fair share for the content uploaded to their platforms. This comes in the form of the so-called “link tax” which would make aggregators like Google News pay for linking to news articles created by others.
Further, advocates of the law say that memes would be protected since they fall under the “parody” label according to the website Futurism. Still, this wouldn’t prevent a filter from instantly rejecting the picture.
Jim Killock at the Open Rights Group explains the law’s logistical issues, “It’s very hard to make these tools identifying content, because they can’t identify context, and so they make decisions that are likely to be bad…Our experience pretty much everywhere is people generally don’t complain. They worry about the effects on their reputation, worry about the legal ramifications, so these tools would have a chilling effect.”
Do you have any insights on the law you’d like to share with us? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.