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The European Commission is listening, again: The consultation to end all consultations?

Exciting developments in our Save the Link campaign happened this week!

At a meeting with the Lisbon Council (a Brussels think tank) Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, gave a number of big announcements regarding the EU copyright law which we’ve been keeping an eye on. Some of you will recognize this as the process in which which we’ve seen threats of a link tax appear over and over again.

Here are the key updates:

  • The law itself will be delayed a short while and released in September.

  • After our campaign to get Internet users to respond to the Commission’s public consultation, and in the context of many other groups speaking out against ancillary copyright (aka ‘link tax’) for press publishers, the Commission has stated it wants to open up this specific issue for another round of consultation.

  • And with big campaigns on the issue of freedom of panorama, they will also be asking for more input on that specific policy. (For a great rundown of Freedom of Panorama and what it means for Europeans, check out Julia Reda’s blog.)

  • The best news is that the Vice-President stated clearly that the EC will “not tax hyperlinks.”

    @Ansip_EU: Commission will not tax hyperlinks although authors, journalists, researchers rights have to be preserved #lisboncouncil

    — María Lozano (@rizosbill) March 14, 2016

    And he has publicly stated his commitment to the open Internet:

    Combining quality journalism and open internet are my goals. At #LisbonCouncil discussing #media in the digital age.

    — Andrus Ansip (@Ansip_EU) March 14, 2016

Now let’s hold him to it!

We’ve heard that the EC aims to launch this new consultation in the next few weeks.

Despite the surprise announcement, we know that helping to enable democratic participation in these processes is what we do best. So we’ll keep an eye on further announcements and make sure that the Internet community is able to respond!

Here's our take

The fact that the Commission is focusing special attention on these two issues shows how successful campaigning in the digital rights community and engaging with Internet users has been. We would never have reached this point without the awesome work of our amazing Save the Link partners or the over 90,000 of you who have spoken up.

Big coalitions of groups have worked hard to raise awareness and solicit feedback on these topics. So we are encouraged that the Commission is recognising that these have become hot issues and are narrowing down on getting extra input before they release any legislative proposals.

It also gives us an opportunity to do the same – focus on making sure that hyperlinks and their accompanying snippets don’t become another copyrighted item, subject to fees for usage and bogus take-down notices.

But we also are concerned that more than 10,000 people already responded to the consultation on platforms – many of whom spoke out against the link tax. We hope that the Commission treats all the feedback they’ve received seriously, and doesn’t use this as an opportunity to consult only with insider groups. We’re glad that they are recognising the importance of hyperlinks as a public issue, but we’re ready to stop with the delays and get on with the reform that really brings copyright into the digital age!

I know that engaging in these issues can feel like one consultation after another! But we also know that the lobbyists will keep on submitting each time and we can’t let them consult until they get the answer they want.  If the Commission ask for public engagement we will make sure that they get it!

I look forward to updating you on the next developments. In the meantime, if you’ve yet to do so, add your voice at and we’ll keep you informed every step of the way.

P.S. Not sure what all this is about?

Read ‘What’s Saving the Link got to do with it?

And ‘The story of saving the link

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