Articles School Life World

Article 13 – The War on Memes

On the 12th of September, the European Parliament voted in favour of a refined version of the copyright laws that were rejected earlier this year by the same body. In Strasbourg, 438 voted in favour and 226 voted against, with 39 abstaining (meaning not submitting a vote).

Before I go any further, allow me to define the matter.

Article 13 of the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market, to give it its full name, enforces a mutual agreement between the copyright holder and the online platform, protecting the holder if their content is used without their knowledge or permission.

The idea behind it is to allow the copyright holder of, for example, an image to be protected from users looking to use it to make something else out of it without their permission. Those so-called images tend to be made into memes.

So, in theory, once the laws are finalised, Drake could sue me for making this image as neither he nor his representatives had given me permission to use this image.


Critics of Article 13 say that this violates the fundamental rights of internet users and contradicts laws that are already in place. Critics also believe that the European Parliament think the copyright content is being used maliciously and don’t completely understand the way the original content is being used.

The Article suggests that ISPs should implement an algorithm of sorts to define content as original or not, preventing people other than the creator of the music, picture or video from uploading it. A foreseeable problem is that this would hinder the production of ‘remixes’ as they tend to work with someone else’s content and add their own twist to it, essentially initialising a form of censorship towards content that is adopted, quoted or parodied.

Furthermore on content adoption. Multiple figures in the music industry collectively support the law. Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has published a letter in favour of the mandate.

“Today, some user-upload content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work while they exploit it for their own profit”.

As you can see, people have their own reasons to support the legislature, but for those among us students who believe this is a step too far, consider using the QR code or the following link to address the matter.


By James Cartwright


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