On Sept 12, 2018 – the European Union passed Articled 11 & 13, which would require media platforms to block all posts that violate copyright. Now, this might not seem so bad. But this includes images too, even if it’s not posted for money making purposes. So those movie GIFs you like to post on Twitter? According to the EUs new rules, Twitter is required to stop you from posting those. Remember those awesome Oprah GIFs where she’s saying “You get a car?” or the epic Robert Downey Jr. eye roll? Can’t post those either because they violate copyright. But that’s not even the craziest part.
If you’re a photographer living within the EU, this will concern you. You know those beautiful photos of city skylines and buildings? According to the EU’s new rules and the politicians who dreamt them up, if you take one of these delightful city pictures and try to sell them for money, you might be making yourself vulnerable to a sea of lawsuits.
A building’s owner now owns the copyright to the building’s image. So, if you were to take a photo of a city skyline when the sun is in the perfect place in the sky, you could get sued by the owners of every building in your picture for copyright violation. (If you try to sell that photo for money.)
This opens a Pandora’s box of questions because this wouldn’t just stop at photographs. What if someone wanted to film a movie in the city? Would the movie makers have to pay copyright fees to building owner’s like they do with music? And what about books? If someone writes a short story featuring a particular building, would the author get sued by a building owner?
Articles 11 and 13 will likely be effective at banning memes? But it might make life harder for entire industries to function.
The hacks who run the EU have shown they don’t mind potentially sending sections of the economy into chaos for the sake of turning the internet into a fascist domain. Let’s hope other European leaders don’t feel the same way. Even American business owners should take a closer look. Because if this succeeds, American political leaders will no doubt try to do everything in their power to follow in their footsteps.