EU: Copyright reform: Commission proposes "link tax"

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"Today, the European Commission formally submitted its new Copyright Directive to the European Parliament for consideration. Despite opposition from a 100,000-strong network of civil society groups and Internet users, the directive includes plans for a new Link Tax — granting sweeping new powers to publishing giants to charge fees when snippets of text are used in hyperlinks.

The European Parliament will now need to consider the Commission’s Link Tax proposal, which comes hot on the heels of a deeply worrying win by publishing giants at the EU’s top court, which ruled that websites can be held liable merely for linking to copyrighted content. The Commission’s copyright proposals are consistent with recent leaks, and advocates warn that EU citizens could soon face some of the worst copyright rules in the world as a result.

“Between today’s Copyright Directive and the recent CJEU ruling, it’s clear that the right to link is under attack across Europe,” said Ruth Coustick-Deal, digital rights specialist for OpenMedia. “Every successful scheme to prevent linking weakens the foundation of the open Internet. If these proposals pass, our right to share and access content will be dramatically curtailed. This bad idea hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been previously tried.”"

See: EU Commission formally proposes Link Tax to European Parliament as part of new Copyright Directive (Open Media, link)

The proposed Directive: European Commission, 'Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market', COM(2016) 593 final, 14 September 2016 (pdf)

See 'Title IV - Measures to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright' for the relevant proposals.

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