EU Copyright Directive defeated – memes have been saved! (for now)

The European Union has rejected the controversial digital copyright bill, which would have diminished the ability to post user-generated memes and remixes online.

The sweeping Copyright Directive promising massive legislative reform, was surprisingly voted down by the European Parliament (318 votes to 278), following a massive backlash from web users across the bloc (via Politico).

Article 13 of the directive had given web users most cause for concern. It would have forced social networks and other sites to check whether uploads were based upon copyrighted works. The Directive compelled online platforms to “take measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rights-holders for the use of their works.”

So, if a meme was based on a copyrighted image (as almost all of them are), then it would unlikely to make it past the content blockers. Campaigners against Article 13 claimed its passage into law would “destroy the internet as we know it.”

In essence it means the likes of Facebook or Twitter could simply scan a single version of an image, video or song and simply drop the block hammer on anything that somewhat duplicates that piece of media. So, the parodies and tributes that often tickle us on lunch breaks (think all of those “It’s coming home videos.” or during the morning commute could be removed too.

Meanwhile, Article 11 also caused consternation for some. It would have forced news aggregation services like Google News to pay content providers for linking out and publishing snippets of their work.

However, European meme-lovers aren’t in the clear yet. Although the Copyright Directive has been struck down in its current form, it isn’t dead. The bill is going back to European lawmakers who’ll make amendments ahead of another vote in September. Web users will be hoping Article 13 is nowhere to be seen the next time MEPs are asked to cast their votes.

Do you have faith the controversial elements of the Copyright Directive will be scrubbed out come September? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.