June 14, 2017
Change the Debate: Save the Link!
Exciting news! The main European Parliament committee responsible for examining the EU Commission’s new copyright legislation will be discussing all the proposed amendments to the law early next week. The voice of this committee — the JURI or Legal Affairs Committee — will have a big sway on the future of this legislation and, in turn, on the future of the open web.
And right now committee members really need to hear from the public. Can you add your voice using our updated Message-your-MEP tool?
MEPs put forward some real positive amendments to the law, including Amendment 96 that 70 MEPs signed up to which would straight up delete one of the most problematic elements of the Commission’s proposals — the Link Tax. We need this amendment to pass.
There are two big issues committee members will be wrestling with -- the Link Tax and Censorship Machines (Articles 11 & 13 of the Commission’s proposals respectively):
The Link Tax would give press publishers ownership over headlines and snippets of text that come with link sharing - in an attempt to monetise people sharing hyperlinks; and to profit further from search engines pointing at their content.
Censorship Machines refers to a plan to place the decision for what content can be posted online in the hands of automated robots who will block content from being uploaded - based on decisions that huge companies can make and enforce about what they want to see online.
An incredible 140,000 people have already spoken out against the Link Tax and Internet Censorship, but the powerful corporations behind these bad ideas have been working frenetically behind the scenes to overrule the public.
Their influence can be seen in last week's deeply disappointing result from the European Parliament committee responsible for consumer rights: they voted for the anti-consumer anti-Internet Link Tax, despite pushing back on censorship measures.
MEPs on the consumer affairs committee also ignored the tens of thousands of constituents who have spoken up; the failure of the law in Spain and Germany; the voice of many publishers; dozens of civil society groups; and the overwhelming academic consensus that says This Will Break The Web.
This sets a worrying tone.
Big news media publishers are still arguing that they are being screwed over by not being paid when their news articles are shared.
Plus, there’s turmoil after the Therese Comodini Cachia, who was leading on this committee on copyright, has changed jobs and left to become a national MP - losing the wisdom and expertise we had on the file.
There’s a huge risk that we’ll now end up with the debate led by someone captured by big business interests.
Everything rests on this debate and then their September vote. We need to show that the people are watching — and that’s why we need you to take action with our updated Message-your-MEP tool. (big thanks to our friends at ExpressVPN for helping make the updates to this tool possible!)
We know that many MEPs are already on our side. We just need those on the fence to jump off and join us.
There is no excuse for elected officials to claim ignorance - let’s give them a reason to speak up for user rights next week. Add your voice right now!
Thanks to Express VPN for sponsoring this important action:
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