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Help our censorship impact research AND speak to your MEPs

Help us research who will be hurt by the plans for a link tax and mass content filtering to make a difference in stopping censorship. 

Prof. Dr. Thomas Höppner, when speaking in favour of what we call the link tax, referred to the new type of copyright as a “prohibition right”. A right designed to stop people linking.  

Similarly, Axel Voss MEP, who has huge influence on the law, said that in his vision, “Only the work of non-professional journalists would still be shared through search engines.”

They would both prefer it if no news could be found on search engines, via proposals which would apply licensing fees to tiny extracts of news stories.

The proposed law that would introduce these rules amounts to Internet censorship, and has been called one of the worst copyright laws in the world. It also contains demands for online monitoring of our behaviour “just in case” we infringe copyright, via content filtering mechanisms. 

Key MEPs are about to vote on how parliament as a whole should view these rules. So we’re giving a big push to make them understand just how much is at risk with the proposal in the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive.

That’s why we’re doing our own research to show how bad this would be. We want to hear  from people in all the many different professions that will be impacted by either, or both, of these proposals.

We need to show consensus that these proposals are a bad idea: academics, small businesses, publishers, librarians, researchers and thousands and thousands of people have already said no to these proposals, can you join them?


These roles will all be impacted in some way by these new copyright restrictions. Does this sound like you?

  • Software developers
    Code-sharing platforms like GitHub will have to install expensive filtering mechanisms to scan the code for copyright infringement, under Article 13.

  • PR professionals
    Providing news lists to your clients will involve new charges and asking for licensing fees, under Article 11.

  • Charities, NGOs
    Lots of charities rely on news round-up and policy monitoring services, which will have to increase their charges. A list of favourable recent press coverage, may also be subject to the link tax.

  • Journalists
    Journalists need sources for their news, attributions build credibility. But news organisations would likely end up all paying each other to link back to their sources - but with no guarantee of any of that money going back to the writers. Journalists also produce content that could fall foul of default content filtering mechanisms: small clips in news videos (like the popular AJ+ mini-vids) could cause the whole thing to be blocked.

  • News Publishers
    Smaller players rely more on traffic directed by third parties. If Axel Voss’ vision of no news in search engines comes true, many news organisations will lose traffic, and revenue.

  • Librarians
    A neighbouring right will make it harder for libraries to curate content, to keep archives of news stories.

  • Researchers and cultural heritage institutions
    Similarly these people must be able to find relevant sources and information. Academics could end up paying for citations, which would be nonsense.

  • Creators
    Creators are the ones everyone says are being saved by all of these new rules.
    But there’s an invisible “you must be this legit to be a creator” sign politicians believe in that means online creators are seen as a fair sacrifice to these new powers. People making cosplay, fan art, video reviews, news, anything that transforms content into something new, will be hurt by content filtering that blocks content if it detects something that is already copyrighted.  

  • European residents and Internet users
    There is no protection for Internet users sharing news stories in the draft law on the link tax; even casual sharing on social media could be fined. It will harm access to knowledge and information, for everyone.

These are the stories we’ve heard, but we can’t tell you your job. What have we missed out? Let us know how restrictions on sharing hyperlinks, and mandatory content filtering will impact you.

If the committee see how widespread the opposition is, they will vote against Articles 11 and 13.  We will show that there is a diverse coalition of groups against the link tax, who are well-informed and directly impacted by these rules.


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