Ron de Varona
I am tired of waking up and checking the news and thinking we live in an article written by “The Onion”. It’s already impossible to believe who our president is. Now on top of all of the net neutrality hullabaloo, the European Nation is trying to control the internet. With this proposed legislation, the EU is trying to tighten the copyright laws of Europe and enforce them with more zealous punishments. I understand at first glance this does not sound so bad because we all know what copyright laws are.
However, just like with any other bill, there are some sneaky clauses lying inside. In this case, there are two of them: article 11 and 13; 13 is especially heinous. This part of the draft would force most websites to police every single upload a user submits, checking it for copyrighted material and forcing creators to pay for licenses.
That doesn’t sound so bad at first, but if you think about it, most content creators cannot pay big companies for the licensing. This means no more song covers, fan-fiction, cosplay, remixes, coding, live streams and dare I say it… Spongebob memes. Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, Snapchat, Twitter and any other user site would have to pay for copyright detection software to try and crack down on users because of this legislation if it passes.
Here is the kicker, these sites can choose to just ban certain images, artists and more as opposed to paying for the new copyright software if they really wanted to. I do not know of many big companies that choose to spend unnecessary capital if they can help it.
Article 11 is oddly specific, as it will ban snippets of headlines from being posted due to sites not getting clicks. Sites may now have to pay to link to big publishers for articles, images and much more. In theory, this is to take away some of the power that Facebook and Google have had over smaller publications in recent years, but it is more likely to steer readers to these sites due to the inability for smaller publishers to afford the cost. This does no good really, it just limits what can be shared easily on sites now. It will likely limit access to information.
Yes, this is currently only happening in Europe. No, you will not immediately be affected if the worst happens and this bill passes. Yes, you should still be pissed off that this is the type of legislature those in power would put forth as opposed to bettering humanity. At the end of the day, the purpose of this bill is for the rich to get richer, and to silence the criticism the people give to those in power through our common “memery.” I am aware this sounds silly but already on Reddit, the community has begun using the EU flag in memes in hopes of the bill potentially banning its own flag from the internet since it is copyrighted material.
You should be upset by the possibility of the bill passing because it does not take much for a bill like this to come up in America. We are still, after all, battling net neutrality in our own nation. It would be a really sad place if the internet became an outlet through which people who express themselves were controlled. This bill would be ultimately limiting, and would likely discourage some artists from even trying to create something. It just takes the next generation to start making a difference in the world we live in, one with less greed is one we can all benefit from.