No more memes? Some of the world’s strangest legislations

Memes, gum, and dying within a certain boundary. Who would've thought they'd be illegal? Here are some of the strangest laws from around the world.

  • Last updated Sep 13, 2019 1:38:07 PM
  • Megan Johnstone

When the EU elaborated on its directive article 13 in April 2019, internet users looked on in horror as their meme culture hung in the balance. The divisive law is set to roll out across the EU member states, and it essentially calls for media sharing platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to take more responsibility for copyrighted content being spread illegally online; and the consequent “banning of the meme”. 

Since the initial onslaught of panic, it’s been established that memes will be exempt from the directive’s enforcement. But it’s not the only absurd law out there. Company liquidation experts Business Rescue Expert take a look at some of the serious yet strange-sounding legislations from around the world. 

Gum free zones 

Chewing-gum bans are typically reserved for school classrooms rather than public spaces. However, Singapore introduced a ban on gum in 1992 under then-Prime Minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew. Chewing gum is certainly unsightly, making pavements look like eyesores and being a general nuisance when stood on. The maximum $100,000 fine — and even a prison sentence of up to two years — might seem a bit excessive, but as strange as these legislative consequences might seem, they are very serious. If you are visiting the country, be sure to leave the trusty stick of gum at home! 

Property rights and protected species

In the US, the conduct of landowners is governed (even on their own property) by The Endangered Species Act and other associated laws, and landowners might be prosecuted if their actions are found to affect wildlife in the surrounding area negatively. The regulation produces some adverse consequences. If an endangered species just happened to be living within the boundaries of a person’s property, then the homeowner doesn’t legally have to declare it and may even choose to destroy the animal. 

You can’t die here! 

In the south-western French town of Sarpourenx, there’s an odd policy on dying. The town’s officials implemented a decree in 2008 which stated that people couldn’t die within the city limits. It was enforced as a result of serious overcrowding in the town’s cemetery and locals were advised that they should buy a plot in the graveyard before they passed away if they wanted to die within the city (and within the law), after pleas from the authorities to expand the area were seemingly left unanswered. A similar ironic measure was put in place in Sellia, Italy, in 2015, where residents were told not to get sick and to always put their health first as a measure to save the ageing population of the area. 

Holding a fish hostage in Rome

Having a pet fish in Rome isn’t really the done thing. The city regards keeping a fish in a bowl as cruel, and your beloved pet becomes a hostage. If you are found keeping a fish in a bowl, you could face a penalty fine. The Swiss government is also understood to take a similar viewpoint. They are a tad more lenient though, and they class goldfishes as social creatures. Ad long as you keep two or more then you will remain on the right side of the law. 

Extra-safe cyclists? 

If you are a cyclist on the streets of Mexico, then you must abide by perhaps one of the most contradictory laws in existence. Taking your feet off the pedals is strictly forbidden and failing to do so can mean you’ll incur a hefty fine. Cycling in this way is viewed as dangerous, and by having your feet firmly on the pedals then control can certainly be maintained… however, there is no formal requirement for those getting around on two wheels to wear a helmet when riding. Strange? We think so. 


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