Could Posting Memes Become Illegal?

Spend five minutes on the internet and there’s a good chance you’ll come across at least ten hilarious memes. Honestly, it’s difficult to imagine an internet without memes, as they’ve become a beloved part of pop culture. But you may need to start envisioning a world without them, because there’s a strong possibility posting memes could soon be deemed illegal.

Strange as that might sound, Business Insider reports Article 13 of the new EU Copyright Directive has been approved, which may put a huge target on the copyright-infringing content you’ll find on websites like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and more.

The approval of Article 13 will now require websites to create tools seeking out copyrighted content and instantly delete it. That may not sound like a big deal, but something as simple as a stock image — altered in any way — technically becomes illegal. The same would hold true for a GIF or video from any type of copyrighted broadcast. In many instances, the content doesn’t even need to be altered for it to fall under rule of Article 13, assuming the content is copyrighted in some form. So those Game of Thrones GIF’s you love so much? And your favorite sports highlight? They would all be illegal under the proposed law.

But these were so good: Memes Trolling JR Smith After Epic Game 1 Blunder Don’t Drop The Ball

Even worse? A simple copyright claim, by anybody, will require the content be removed, as no proof of ownership is required.

All hope isn’t lost, though. The approval of Article 13 of the new EU Copyright Directive has not been deemed an official law just yet. That decision will be up to the European Union, who are scheduled to vote on Article 13 sometime between December and the first few months of 2019.