On 26 March, the European Parliament came up with new legislation regulating copyright on the Internet, with Article 13 arguably drawing the most controversy. It stipulates that social networks and websites should introduce special filters that will prevent users from uploading content that may potentially violate copyright.
Social networkers are meanwhile concerned about memes potentially falling under the new amendment, as many of the templates are based on film scripts, TV series, broadcasts and comic stories, all of which are protected by copyright and, in theory, Article 13.
Twitter users started redrawing and redoing the meme templates in a bid to allow their content to be qualified as “original” and appear to be in no violation of the law. They notably used everything handy to arrive at something unique – from stock photos of bananas to Paint and Photoshop tools, as well as Minecraft symbols. Many simply explicitly stated what this or that meme implies, thereby avoiding reposting it, but resorting to its verbal description.
Here are just a few examples of Article 13-friendly memes from Twitter:
Screw Article 13. We'll make our own memes! pic.twitter.com/JSAZg4GJVU— Jenks (@TheLostBride) 26 марта 2019 г.
Reddit users also joked that Europeans would soon start using American VPNs in order to safely publish memes dodging the EU legislation.
article 13 has passed and memes are doomed pic.twitter.com/iUT0hsYD4u— hyojin (@squizxy) 26 марта 2019 г.
The only man that can save us from article 13 pic.twitter.com/52z4ILcNuu— Memes 🇵🇹 (@MemesCentraI) 26 марта 2019 г.
European Redditors when they hear Article 13 passes pic.twitter.com/zsARkYrffo— Heart of Memes (@HeartofMemes) 27 марта 2019 г.
The news appears to have indeed hit a raw nerve with Internet users:
Article 13 just passed….It’s a new law in the EU that will copyright any audiovisual content: like videos, pictures, and even memes. It means that a lot of channels can be deleted. Please use hashtags #article13 and #armyagainstarticle13 it will take you a few seconds 🙏😪 pic.twitter.com/Ea5mXnDpw4— BornToSlay 💜 (@BornToSlay_gurl) 26 марта 2019 г.
EU: *bans memes*— harshsxm (@harshsxm) 27 марта 2019 г.
The internet: *makes memes about article 13*
Imagine altering a european law because of Memes 😂😂 https://t.co/5GNlYxAjjt— MFC (@NazmulIslam98) 26 марта 2019 г.
“I'm calm, I promess I'm calm..Not like they are going to take down YT videos, meme, Pictures…Everything is FXXCKING FINE!!!” one users exclaimed, repeating his words like a mantra, with others feeling equally upset:
a new european law has been accepted and it basically doesn’t allow any form of creativity on the internet anymore like memes and edits— ً (@flowerpathTae) 26 марта 2019 г.