Russia Makes Slew of Internet Memes Illegal

Vlad is mad.

Russia’s Internet censor Roskomnadzor has decided that memes that mock and belittle should be illegal.

"These ways of using [celebrities’ images] violate the laws governing personal data and harm the honor, dignity and business of public figures," the policy from Roskomnadzor says.

Like Russia does, there wasn't any official law passed by Parliament and signed by the president. Instead, Roskomnadzor just "clarified" an existing regulation on the books. According to the Washington Post, 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. 

Those laws now ban, per Roskomnadzor’s announcement, memes that picture public figures in a way that 'has no relation to [their] personality,' parody accounts and parody Web sites. If a public figure believes such a site or meme has been made about him, the announcement continues, he can report them to the Roskomnadzor, which — in addition to overseeing Russia’s Internet censorship program — can file claims in court. Web sites are essentially given the choice of blocking the offending content in Russia, or seeing their whole sites get blocked across the country.