Large majority of submissions to European Commission oppose link tax but Commission continues to pursue the policy
Internet users concerned over Commission’s continued push forward on unpopular plan to tax links and snippets and possible introduction of new liabilities for online platforms
May 25, 2016– Today the European Commission published a long-awaited analysis of its online platforms consultation. In their analysis, the Commission recognises the overwhelming opposition the idea of a ‘Link Tax’ (also known as “ancillary copyright”), which could see people losing access to content and businesses forced to obtain a copyright license before posting hyperlinks that include ‘snippets’ of the article being linked to.
They note additional concerns raised by consultation respondents, including the implementation of a new liability regime for online platforms that could see requirements for websites to monitor, filter, and censor content posted by users.
Despite this overwhelming negative response from the public regarding ancillary copyright proposals, today’s release of a related Communication on the opportunities and challenges presented by online platforms indicates a continued march towards European-wide link tax.
“The message from Internet users couldn’t be clearer — nobody wants a link tax that would restrict our freedom of expression online and harm innovation,” said Ruth Coustick-Deal, digital rights specialist with OpenMedia, who recently met top MEPs on the issue. “We’re pleased that the Commission recognised the thousands of Internet users who responded, and we hope they will weigh heavily the input from the public before creating any copyright rules that would result in heavy-handed censorship of our online lives.”
“The results of the platforms consultation prompted the European Commission to open a second public input survey on the link tax, and it is presumptuous of the Commission to push ahead with regulations on advancing the link tax whilst they are currently still consulting with the public on this issue.”
The Commission’s consultation on platforms ran from 24 September 2015 and closed on 6 January 2016. Throughout the process, the Save the Link platform was used to engage with a global community of concerned citizens working to safeguard their right to link with 10,599 respondents and 3737 from within the European Union.
Internet users across the EU and the globe are speaking out to Save the Link at https://SaveTheLink.org/eu