‘Hands off our memes’: Citizen’s initiative blocks proposed copyright filters online

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


This June a motion was put forward to the European Parliament by Christian Democratic Union (CDU) representative Axel Voss suggesting a digital filter that would prevent any previously copyrighted material from being uploaded. Critics reacted with concern, partly due to the regulatory chaos that threatened to ensue, while others protested that it was an act of censorship that could potentially damage creativity and freedom of expression on the internet.

Julia Reda of the Piraten Partei (Pirate Party), also an EU parliamentarian, organized a contra to this drafted regulation and a petition which gathered 85,000 signatures in under a few weeks. The petition and critics’ uproar at the proposed filter meant that this regulation was not passed by the EU and remains, for the time being, postponed.

We caught up with Marek Tuszynski, co-founder of Tactical Tech, to discuss how regulations like these affect digital culture. Despite Tuszynski being pleased that political mobilization against this suggested filter was in this case successful, he is still disappointed that a draft was put through that he believes showed little expertise and concern for internet users, adding that: “I would rather have a world in which somebody did their homework and the regulators actually did the proper research and tried to understand the environment they tried to regulate.”

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