To Meme or Not to Meme? Europe’s Question

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Friday, August 24, 2018


In classic European fashion, the EU may be banning something the rest of the Western world enjoys: memes.

Memes could come under scrutiny with the implementation of a newly-proposed copyright law, under which websites would use content scanning software to find content similar to copyrighted material and remove it. It is a move that would undermine one of the few things that still unite the millennial generation. Memes are one of the few things that bring young people together. Despite the right’s obvious preference for memes, we can all agree that memes allow for both sides to find some common ground based in comedy.

Current copyright laws in the United States protect content creators under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. Section 107 allows creators to use copyrighted material as long as it falls under one of these categories: “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.” In the United States, these fair use laws allow for memes and a variety of other copyright-based content to create profit for individuals.

This issue comes down to business and profit. Businesses should have the right to protect their own creations. They put in their own capital to create the original, and they should be allowed to protect their investment. However, there should be a middle ground, and it should not necessarily be the government’s job to determine it. Many in the internet generations believe that memes, because of their humorous and critical nature, are fair use and thus fall into this middle ground.

Fortunately for meme-loving Europeans, the backlash to this policy is large. The internet generation is livid that their beloved pastime is under attack by an overreaching government. As more young people come of voting age, any passage of this bill could potentially lead to the loss of a seats in the next election and is causing politicians to second guess their support of the bill.

The U.S. has a much more logical stance on copyright law than the proposed European system. It allows for the creation of both original and inspired material with a clear distinction between what is and what is not protected by copyright. This clear delineation allows for the comfortable proliferation of the commentary that the internet so enjoys.

Under the newly proposed legislation, memes will die a quick and painful death in Europe. As politics in the U.S. are only getting more polarized, I can only hope that potential European laws do not influence U.S. lawmakers into an American ban on memes. While they’re still around, however, be sure to fulfill your need for conservative memes and check out our Instagram!

Joseph Chalfant is a student at Austin Community College. He is a governmental libertarian and a social conservative. He would like to pursue a career in law in order to protect constitutional rights.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Joseph Chalfant

Austin Community College

Joseph Chalfant is a student at Austin Community College. He is a governmental libertarian and a social conservative. He would like to pursue a career in law in order to protect constitutional rights.

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