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Over 37,500 Internet users ask European Commission not to create new Link Tax laws, as deadline passes for public comment

The Internet is not impressed by the Commission’s push to create a new tax on links and snippets, as part of their new copyright directive

June 16, 2016The verdict is in on the European Commission’s proposal to create a new hyperlinking fee (also known as “ancillary copyright” or the “link tax”). A total of 37,597 Internet users endorsed an open letter to the Commission asking them not to proceed with the plan, as the deadline passed on their consultation process. A diverse range of public interest groups, publishers, and web companies have come together to oppose the idea of levying a fee on links and their accompanying short snippets of text.

The idea of a link tax was one of the most unpopular proposals contained in the Commission’s recent consultation on online platforms, but despite the public opposition commissioners chose to launch a second public input survey, even before the previous consultation results had been published. The Commission is now expected to take a number of months to review public input before finalizing its plans.

“The right to hyperlink freely is fundamental to the open Web, and it’s no surprise to see Internet users overwhelmingly reject this flawed proposal,” said OpenMedia’s Digital Rights Specialist Ruth Coustick-Deal. “A new tax on links and snippets will restrict freedom of expression, undermine access to information, and harm online innovation. It’s time for the Commission to start listening, and to close the book on this bad idea for once and for all.”

OpenMedia's official submission to the European Commission is now available online. It makes the case that ancillary copyright rules would have a strong negative impact on publishers, authors in the publishing sector, rights holders, researchers,  educational institutions, online service providers, and Internet users. Ancillary copyright rules passed in Germany and Spain have proven to be an expensive failure, that ended up hurting the publishing companies they were designed to help. A coalition of publishing companies are now campaigning against the idea of rolling out similar rules across the EU.

A total of 37,597 have spoken out against the link tax at SaveTheLink.org/EU

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet.

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