Article 13 passed, European Parliament votes to implement ‘meme ban’

Article 13 has been passed by European Parliament. This copyright law legislation will put the onus on content platforms to tackle infringements. The platforms will need to implement an “upload filter” blocking copyright violating content before it is made available to the public. Creators on the platforms are concerned this will lead to excessive moderation with, the law being referred to as a “meme ban” by some.

Before Article 13 passed earlier today, the copyright law proposal gained widespread attention in the summer of 2018 when the legislation first emerged. Content creators across social media and video platforms are concerned Article 13 could lead to overcautiousness by websites, potentially meaning that content, normally covered by fair use, would be blocked out of fear for reprisal under Article 13. The man credited for founding the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, was involved in the publishing of a letter which referred to Article 13 as “an imminent threat to the future” of the internet.

In the European Parliament, Article 13 passed with 348 votes in favor to 274 votes against. The vote today followed a previous vote supported the law in September 2018. But despite the vote in favor, the EU chose to continue to debate and modify Article 13 ahead of today’s decisive vote. The next step is for individual countries to decide on how to implement Article 13, the full name of the legislation being “The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.” As Article 13 is an EU directive and not an EU regulation, it is up to member states to decide on how to implement the copyright legislation.

Article 13 has been a point of contention for gamers, too. With game mods and memes emerging from popular games becoming a part of video games culture. Earlier this year, Scooby Doo character Shaggy spread across the internet as a viral meme. Gamers called on Shaggy to be included Mortal Kombat 11 as a playable character. In this instance, players weren’t able to get their way, but a Jump Force modder managed to add Shaggy to that particular fighting game.