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Guest post (OpenMedia) EU Parliament to discuss Link Tax

Guest Post by OpenMedia.org

European Commission formally submitted its new Copyright Directive to the European Parliament for consideration. Despite opposition from a 100,000-strong network of civil society groups and Internet users, the directive includes plans for a new Link Tax — granting sweeping new powers to publishing giants to charge fees when snippets of text are used in hyperlinks.

 

The European Parliament will now need to consider the Commission’s Link Tax proposal, which comes hot on the heels of a deeply worrying win by publishing giants at the EU’s top court, which ruled that websites can be held liable merely for linking to copyrighted content. The Commission’s copyright proposals are consistent with recent leaks, and advocates warn that EU citizens could soon face some of the worst copyright rules in the world as a result.

 

“Between today’s Copyright Directive and the recent CJEU ruling, it’s clear that the right to link is under attack across Europe,” said Ruth Coustick-Deal, digital rights specialist for OpenMedia. “Every successful scheme to prevent linking weakens the foundation of the open Internet. If these proposals pass, our right to share and access content will be dramatically curtailed. This bad idea hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been previously tried.”

 

The Commission’s proposals were delivered to the European Parliament alongside the State of the Union address by Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. The much anticipated Copyright Directive on the Digital Single Market was the result of 2 years of public consultation during which tens of thousands of EU citizens engaged in good faith.

 

Among the key criticisms of the Commission’s proposals are:

 

  • Far from defending journalism such a law only favours large publishers. We would see lost and reduced links to news sites when small businesses are unable to afford these proposed link tax charges.
  • The proposals will also be a hammer-blow to innovative EU digital startups which will never be able to get off the ground if forced to pay this ridiculous link tax.
  • The draft law also includes requirements for monitoring Internet users, demanding that tech companies produce filtering programs similar to YouTube’s contentID for detecting the copyright status of user generated content – despite the high costs associated with developing such a system.
  • These proposals falls short of protecting internet users and being the ambitious copyright for the digital single market that it had the potential to be. Instead what we have is the wishlist of a few big publishers who have taken over the copyright reform process, watering down the opportunity for strong, effective reform”

 

Citizens across the EU and the world are speaking out against these proposals at SaveTheLink.org

 

About OpenMedia OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet.

 

Members of the European Parliament have the power to stop this disastrous proposal dead in its tracks. But they’ll only defend the open web if they hear from you NOW.

Help us spread the word and make sure as many people as possible can tell their MEPs to stop any rules that impose the Link Tax and forced content filtering.

 

Take Action at: act1.openmedia.org/savethelink

Find out more about the Save the Link campaign at:www.savethelink.org



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