Memes will be no more… A final vote from the European Parliament

The votes are in and it has now been approved to adopt Article 13 for the new copyright directive. This decision will mean that audio-visual content to our beloved memes will be governed and given added protection for the copyright for the original owner.

This move has been talked about for over two years with an incredible amount of controversy surrounding it. Some members of European Parliament have considered this addition a ‘dark day for internet freedom’ because it is considered as putting far too much unnecessary restriction on companies that trade on the digital market. On top of this, it will put too much legal responsibility on platforms such as YouTube and meme-based sites to regulate their website in respect of the content they are allowing to be uploaded. Â

The Article 13 approval which is more commonly known as The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, was originally considered for change to give more protection to artists, and publishers or broadcasters including more ability for them to receive compensation. Naturally, this is a good positive application to improve on and ultimately allows for more fairness on the part of the owner of copyright to have some financial gain from their work or at least know that their work is not being infringed. The issues arose when it was considered as an over regulated and over controlled approach to what has always been considered as a free internet which will limit the use of the internet to distribute work on behalf of the owner.

Of course, times change and technology has meant that the law in all jurisdictions have had to adapt and evolve as well. This new law will put the tech companies at greater risk of infringement and will mean that this online memory clamp down could make the big tech companies such as Twitter, YouTube or Google, and even Facebook having to dig deep in to their pockets to pay artists for allowing the reproduction of their work online. Also, it may mean a new type of policing and upload filters which will be costly software to implement and in fact cause user dissatisfaction that could mean an irreparable negative change from how we currently surf the internet.

There has been some feedback from the bigwigs at Google who have quite bluntly put it that ‘while the directive is an improvement, it will still lead to legal uncertainty and will damage Europe’s creative and digital economies.’

There will now be two year window to make the transition and we at Lawdit will keep a close eye on this transition moving forward.

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