The European Parliament has voted to adopt the highly controversial Article 13 provision which would govern the production and distribution of content online under the auspices of increasing copyright protections.
Tuesday’s move will update the EU’s 20-year-old copyright rules and will govern audiovisual content, much to the dismay of many social media users who have already begun outpouring their grief online.
However the parliament said in a statement that sharing memes and gifs has been protected “even more than it was before” and they will continue to be available and shareable on online platforms.
MEPs passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274 Tuesday. Opponents had hoped for last-minute amendments to be made but their efforts were in vain.
Dark day for internet freedom: The @Europarl_EN has rubber-stamped copyright reform including #Article13 and #Article11. MEPs refused to even consider amendments. The results of the final vote: 348 in favor, 274 against #SaveYourInternet pic.twitter.com/8bHaPEEUk3
— Julia Reda (@Senficon) 26 March 2019
Just in: Memes are now illegal https://t.co/TyCWwJ9xR7
— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) 26 March 2019
Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”
Article 13 or ‘The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ makes all platforms legally responsible for the content hosted and shared on their platforms.
The process of updating the bloc’s copyright laws began in the European Commission two years ago, ostensibly to protect Europe’s publishers, broadcasters and artists and guarantee fair compensation from big tech companies.