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In the internet age of today, GIFs and memes are widely used to convey various meanings. When you want to express something with more than words, GIFs are a useful delight. In recent years, they have played a large role in the shift to a more “internet” culture, and continue to be of significant relevance to marketers and consumers alike. Recently the European Parliament passed a new copyright law. There are various articles in the law but there is one “Article 13” which states that the use of these memes and GIFs are illegal.

What is Article 13?

Many refer to it as the “meme ban”. Article 13 is titled as “Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market”. The article forces the online platform to enforce stricter copyright regulations on the content uploaded and also provide an option to the copyright holders to report incidents of copyright infringement.

What makes Article 13 controversial?

“The opportunity for anyone to earn a living is core to who we are Youtube. Today’s EU copyright vote undermines the creative economy on the web,” the CEO of Youtube, Susan Wojcicki, stated on Twitter in regard to Article 13.

Many who oppose the article believe that it will put the internet content at risk because technically they fall under the conditions stated in the article. It will also pose difficulties to those who try to adopt from some original content, including those who shift content in the name of fair use. 

Julia Reda says it perfectly in her article by Wired, “Articles 11 and 13 – a so-called “link tax” for news content, and a rule making internet platforms liable for copyright infringements by their users – were never meant to be carefully considered fixes to issues in copyright law. They are meant to be sticks EU-based publishing and music giants can wield to force US-based internet platform giants to the negotiation table on their terms. To achieve that, some kind of license needs to be required, and the media industry needs to get to set the price.

The supporters of these provisions don’t particularly care about the specific nature of the sticks they’re handing out. Many are out of their depth when it comes to discussing the details. The intended effect of the law is not so much what its paragraphs say, but to placate the media industry – and thereby, taking their word for it, “saving creativity and the independent press in Europe”.

Future of Article 13

Many famous names from the music industry like Paul McCartney have openly come in the support of the article whereas artists like Wyclef Jean is not in the favor of the decision. The final vote is yet to happen in the month of January and the EU parliament will then be able to take a clear decision on enforcing the law. To stay updated with this story and more like it, follow us on social media @elevantcapital. 


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