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Link tax slammed by major Spanish newspaper El País

The European Commission’s plans for a Link Tax have been dealt another blow — this time by leading Spanish newspaper El País

Spain’s largest and best known newspaper, El País, has just taken an impressive stand against the Link Tax, aka ancillary copyright.

Today they published an op-ed (in Spanish) that severely criticises the European Commission’s proposals to control how links to news can be shared and used. The piece stated:

Those who want to make these rights a bastion from which to impose a mandatory and non-waivable fee are wrong. It is a model that has already proven its failure in Germany in 2013 and in Spain in 2014. Attempts to impose a mandatory fee on Google for the use of links to press news caused a major traffic drop Web of the group Axel Springer and the closing in Spain of the Google News service.

The European Parliament has been steadily moving away from the proposal to charge a levy on hyperlinking, thanks to your support and letters.

But these positive steps have been met with outrage by the most hyperbolic publishing lobbyists who declared recently that without a new copyright over the snippets that come with links, the industry will die.

Now the most internationally-renowned Spanish paper declares this to be false.

In some ways, it’s not a surprise to see this opposition coming from Spain. After all, a Link Tax was passed in Spain in 2014. The fact that they are speaking out against the big publisher groups is a sign of how big a disaster their experience with the law was — and the damage that's waiting for the rest of the European Union if we don't stop it. It's what we've said all along — it didn't work in Spain, it didn't work in Germany. It won't work anywhere else.

This is a really powerful moment. It must not be forgotten that while some lobbyists speak the loudest, there are voices speaking out in opposition from every industry which will be affected by the link tax: aggregators, publishers, search engines, social media and everyday Internet users like ourselves.  

Ancillary copyright experts IGEL also remind us that the CEO of El País’ parent groupJuan Luis Cebrián had criticized the Spanish law in the past, saying that "there is a formidable consensus that no-one likes the law” and “as long as I am president of PRISA, no part of the media group will collect the [ancillary copyright] fee".

There’s never been a more important time to speak out against this reckless plan. Be sure to send a message to your MEP using our tools in English, Spanish, French, and German!

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