/ Policy

Event: The end of Meme and the attack on Fundamental Rights

A new internet censorship machine will force websites based on user-generated content to introduce automated content filters. Danes will no longer be able to remix, remake, create, reference, parody, document, critique, and meme content. Join our event to find out more.

Whether you're a librarian, open source software supporter, creative worker or simply, an internet user, YOU WILL BE AFFECTED!


The proposed EU Copyright reform is trying to push content filters (Art 13) for websites powered by user upload, even though such filters were declared illegal by the EU Court of Justice. Such a filtering system represents the skeleton of a surveillance machine and a threat to our freedom of expression, access to open knowledge, online privacy and the development of independent artists and small startups. Here's what's at stake.

1. The right to participate in cultural life.

On the internet, users participate in webculture by remixing, remaking, parodying, criticizing or... simply making a meme out of content. All of these would be illegal. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 27) recognizes that every human on this planet has the right to be a part of cultural life - including the digital one.

Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

If the EU Copyright law is reformed according to the current proposal, the meme above would become illegal. We need to stop this! Instead of being allowed to partake in the development of webculture, users will be considered 'guilty by definition' and and have their uploads scanned with no copyright infringement in place.

2. Free Access to Knowledge and Open Source Software

Our free access to online academic knowledge, librarians' capacity to facilitate this access, coders' ability to collaboratively build software - they are all under threat!

Article 13 in the Copyright Reform threatens the existence of online public repositories - content filters are too expendsive to implement. An open letter signed by numerous European Academics, Librarians and Open Knowledge Organisations warns that:

Article 13 threatens the accessibility of scientific articles, publications and research data made available through over 1250 repositories managed by European non-profit institutions and academic communities.

Moreover, Claudia Garád, Executive Director of Wikimedia in Austria, states that:

Should Wikipedia implement upload filters, the project would not be able to go on. We would have to protractedly authorise every single contribution or image – an unnecessary obstacle which would greatly complicate the work of our community, or even make it outright impossible.

Free and Open Source Software is also under threat. Code hosting platforms such as Github would have to implement content filters too. Individuals' content, including entire code repositories, will be monitored and blocked from being shared online at any time. Tal Ni, VP Law and Policy at Github, declares that:

Article 13 creates a high level of unceartainty for the software industry and the free and open source software community, which are dirvers of economic growth, jobs, education, innovation and the democratization of technology. The article should be struck entirely, or at least tailored to exclude software development.

3. A barrier for startups & independent artists

Research repositories are not the only ones that will be unable to survive the costs behind content filtering mechanisms. Smaller businesses and independent artists will join in this struggle. Lenard Koschwitz, Director of European Affairs at Allied for Startups, declares:

We know from entrepreneurs we spoke to that they would move their business outside of Europe if this law becomes a reality.

Moreover, independent artists are at risk for having their content removed by mistake and dealing with complex bureaucratic requests in order to have the content re-uploaded. A campaign for creator's rights on the internet points out:

These filters may not be able to detect whether something is within the realm of fair use, meaning that original content could be automatically deleted without the consent of the creator.

There are plenty of examples that show how bad algorithms are at correctly identifying the situations when an infringement on copyright takes place. They can even delete a Youtube video of a cat because the cat's purrr is perceived as copyrighted.

Are you curious to find out more about how content filters will affect Danish society? Join our event!

When: 17th of January 2018
Where: PROSA, Vester Farimagsgade 37A, 1606 Copenhagen V
What: Presentation (Andreea Belu from Oi4P + Jesper Lund from IT Politisk Forening). Questions and Debate follow the presentation.

Meetup event here
Facebook event here
Prosa event here (in Danish)

Ongoing Campaigns

  • Save The Meme : Impact on Webculture

  • Save Code Share : Impact on Free and Open Source Software

  • Create Refresh : Impact on Creative Workers

  • Right Copyright: Impact on Education

  • Fix Copyright : Put together by a broad cross-section of interest groups from across Europe, from rights holders to public interest NGOs to large consumer representatives and everything in between.

Further Reading: