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Digital rights activists and leaders of the tech world are currently fighting against Article 13 — a new EU law that has the potential to kill meme culture, NBC News reports.

As part of the proposed EU Copyright Directive, Article 13 received a vote of approval from the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs on Thursday. The article updates existing copyright law, aiming primarily to prevent online piracy in music and video, but will shift responsibility for enforcing copyright law onto websites and platforms and away from individual users.

The upshot of this means sites will have to use content recognition technologies that filter out anything that infringes copyright. The result being that internet culture as we know it now — live-streaming, code sharing, samples, remixes, satire videos, and memes — will be driven off websites unless sites pay for the use of the copyrighted materials.

Jim Killock, executive director of pro-internet freedom organization Open Rights Group, told NBC News, “I think without a doubt there will be a threat to the way people use memes. They are clearly reusing copyrighted material, mostly legitimately, but it’s very hard for a machine to know that.”

So, for example, you could be about to wave goodbye to confused John Travolta, as the copyright belongs to Pulp Fiction distributor Miramax.

To read more on how Article 13 could affect the way you use the internet, head over to NBC News.

What would you do in a world without memes? Let us know in the comments.

Next, here’s our roundup of the best World Cup 2018 memes.

Staff Writer
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