“Link tax” danger to free linking
Free linking to publicly available content using snippets is fundamental to how the Internet is used today. The right to cite and link has become an essential part of how we communicate online.
A new proposal by the EU could allow publishers to – or even oblige them to – charge for the reproduction of short extracts or snippets of their web content. We’re talking about the kinds of snippets people post every day on Twitter and Facebook, quote in their blogs, and that make up the headlines that you see here on NewsNow every day.
On the face of it, you might think that this would be a good thing for publishers. Yet because links can’t function effectively without snippets, some are calling this a ‘link tax’ and we're highly concerned that this would have a serious and damaging impact on publishers, all sorts of other online services, and their users - which means you!
The EU is consulting now on what it calls these new ‘neighbouring rights’. This is legal terminology, and although the consultation is unclear about exactly what these new rights might entail, a recent statement by the EU Commission does indicate it is seeking to extend across the EU a link tax similar to those introduced in Spain and Germany, which were widely regarded as a disaster for publishers and for users.
Free linking to publicly available content using snippets is fundamental to how the internet is used today. The right to cite and link has become an essential part of how we communicate online.
This is why we’re urging our users, publishers, and others to respond to this EU consultation now and make their views heard.
To learn more about our concerns and arguments against the introduction of a new ‘neighbouring right’ of this sort, please read our Position Statement.
To respond to the consultation, you have a couple of options:
- Fill out a version of the form here: http://youcan.fixcopyright.eu/. This is a version authored by various digital rights groups which will guide you through the process of filling in the form.
- Fill out the EU’s own online form directly. You can access it here: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/public-consultation-role-publishers-copyright-value-chain-and-panorama-exception.
NOTE TO PUBLISHERS AND ORGANISATIONS: if you’re responding in an official capacity for your organisation, you must first register your organisation with the EU Transparency Register. If you respond on behalf of your organisation without being registered, the EU Commission will consider your input as that of an individual.
You have until Wednesday 15 June 2016 to respond to the consultation. Don't miss your chance to have your say!