The EU just passed legislation aimed at increasing revenue for news sources and decreasing copyright theft.
This effects of this directive (not a law yet anywhere - but it will be) are as yet unknown. But change is inevitable.
The main impact of these regulations are two fold.
- Copyright theft responsibility shifts to the platform (IE Twitter, YouTube, Facebook), not the user who uploaded the material.
(Memes, are exempt).
- Links to news articles will be liable to a tax.
The upshot of this is as yet unknown, many things could change. But the implications of copyright theft on the scale of operations like the social networks above are impossible for them to ignore.
It's possible they may put in place charges to keep their services the same as they are now (to cover news link costs etc). It's possible they may block all links to news articles unless the user pays a fee. It's possible that they may halt all media uploads, or put in place measures to recover costs from the user if they're pursued for copyright theft. Many things are possible, all of our YouTube content may be scrubbed and deleted if it's found to contain copyright material.
But one thing is certain, the internet as we know now, is unlikely to be the same in the future.