Delivering your voices against the #LinkTax to the European Parliament
On Thursday as part of our fight to defend the right to link, our free expression campaigner went to the European Parliament to deliver your voices
Last week I went to the European Parliament in Brussels on behalf of the Save the Link campaign, to deliver your voices directly to decision makers.
Earlier in the year, the European Commission launched a public survey aimed at finding out how everyone felt about the idea of charging fees for sharing the snippets of text that come automatically with hyperlinks, aka, the link tax.
The Commission asked what people thought the impact of the link tax — what they describe as “neighbouring rights” — would be on consumers and EU citizens.
In total 37,500 Internet users, including 9,336 from within the EU, spoke out to say the link tax would have a strong negative impact on consumers, end-users, and EU citizens, harming many forms of information sharing, creating an advantage for entrenched news organisations, and narrowing the range of news sources available to Internet users. [You can read the full statement here]
The Commission claimed to want to hear the public’s views on this matter. Sadly, when the time came to release the results of the consultation they let us down in a big way. In their summary document, they dismissed public engagement almost entirely, relegating the views of citizens, consumers, and Internet users to the very last paragraphs. They also didn’t bother doing a full analysis of the number of yes or no responses they received to this idea. Despite this outpouring of public criticism, Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, seems determined to ignore you and try to ram the link tax through regardless of criticism.
So, if the Commission were determined to ignore you, we asked two MEPs to listen to your voices instead. I met with Julia Reda and Daniel Dalton, MEPs for the Pirate Party of Germany, and the Conservative Party of the UK, respectively.
They needed to hear the public view, because, despite all the opposition, Oettinger included the link tax in the final version of the proposed law that was released: The Copyright Directive on the Digital Single Market.
As elected MEPs Julia Reda and Daniel Dalton are going to have to examine this law and will have the opportunity to officially propose removing the link tax from the law.
These 2 MEPs are not only interested and supportive of Save the Link, they are working in their own group of representatives under a ‘Save the Link’ banner, so we knew they would take your views seriously. In fact they have a video talking about their concerns for the link tax proposal:
In my meeting with the MEPs, I discussed your concerns about the upcoming law, and how we can work together to make sure that Europe’s final set of copyright rules works for the good of citizens and the Internet. I asked them to make sure that in the response they give to the European Commission, and as they work in their committees, they keep representing and reminding other decision-makers of the tens of thousands of Internet users who have spoken out to save the link.
It's important to have moments like this when we can take your voices directly to the key decision-makers who have the power to shape the laws we are working on.
While I was in Brussels, I also met with some other MEPs, alongside our network partner Dr Till Kreutzer from IGEL. We met Julia Reda, a representative of Helga Trupel, and with Dietmar Koster and several of his staff from the Socialist and Democrat party, who was kindly hosting the meeting.
The meeting was in German with several MEPs representing Germany — stay tuned for more on how that meeting went, and, if you’ve yet to do so, be sure to add your voice to the tens of thousands calling on the European Parliament to stop the link tax at SaveTheLink.org/EU.
P.S. Want to find out more about this campaign? You can also see all our articles, and the latest Save the Link news at https://savethelink.org/latest