Student Reflection – Article 13 (9.1)

By Amy Wagner

In late October of 2018 when this project was first assigned Article 13 was a highly controversial and widely discussed issue among many popular internet creators. I found the discussion going on particularly interesting not only due to the way the new legislation would impact some of my favorite European creators, but also because of the way so many people found it so important to fight for memes, demonstrating how important they were and are to our culture. I wanted to explore the issue from a viewpoint that didn’t stop at asking why Article 13 matters, but looked at the heart of the issue and asked why memes matter. 

Due to the fact that many of the internet creators speaking out on the issue were YouTube creators, I decided to approach the topic through a video essay that combined both elements of an informative Youtube video and a research essay. I was particularly excited by the idea of making a video essay because of the access it gave me to utilizing a wide variety of memes in order to demonstrate how versatile and varied they are. By combining visual memes, auditory memes, and video memes I was able to explore the breadth of what an internet meme really is and demonstrate how difficult it is to eliminate copyright content from memes as a result of the combination of all of the different forms they take on and sources they pull from. I would hope that the demonstration of the many forms that memes can take on and a discussion of their importance would leave audiences with a sense of wariness when it comes to Article 13 and with all copyright law in general. Policing such a fluid thing as memes seems virtually impossible and deserves to be discussed thoroughly and taken seriously not only by grassroot protestors and internet creators, but by the people making the legislation in the first place.