It’s a sad day for the internet, especially if you live in Russia. (Then again, every day is sad in Russia.) Why does Russia make internet users sad, you ask? Because internet memes, those wonderfully entertaining time-wasters we all know and love, are now illegal.
According to the Washington Post, Russia’s internet/media censorship agency made the announcement earlier this week:
“These ways of using [celebrities’ images] violate the laws governing personal data and harm the honor, dignity and business of public figures,” reads the policy announcement from Roskomnadzor.
To be clear, this isn’t a new law passed by parliament or anything — it’s just a (pretty startling) clarification of existing policy, published to the popular social network Vkontakte. According to Russian media, the announcement came in light of a lawsuit filed by the Russian singer Valeri Syutkin, who sued an irreverent Wikipedia-style culture site over an image macro that paired his picture with some less-than-tasteful lyrics from another artist’s song. On Tuesday, a Moscow judge ruled for Syutkin, prompting the Roskomnadzor to publish an update to its “personal data laws.”
Basically, one of the internet’s single greatest photos can never again have text added to it in a humorous manner. (At least in Russia.) You know what photo I’m talking about…
“I can now ride horse again,” Putin is probably thinking. “Without fear of giant white letters.”
(Via Washington Post)