The new proposals include the unprecedented new “Link Tax” for publishing giants, allowing them to charge fees for reposting links that contain 100 character snippets of “copyrighted” text.
On September 14th, 2016 the EU Commission presented these new rule proposals to the European Parliament. Earlier leaks hinted the rules were worse than originally feared, and the recent announcement proved it. Not only Europeans, but everyone simply has to help stop this now.
Despite online opposition leading up to this point from over 100,000 Internet users, and many dozens of civil society groups, the EU Commission has charged full force ahead with its’ abusive anti-free-speech and anti-free-association plan.
We must demand that our so called “decision-makers” and the entirety of the government absolutely reject such crazy Link Tax proposals, along with any other forthcoming disastrous copyright measures. We must all speak out now or the internet as we know it will be much more corporate and state, rather than grassroots controlled.
In addition, the EU Commission’s new rule proposals include invasive and expensive methods for 1) monitoring and 2) “filtering” user content. In other words, the censoring of content and creativity online.
In more detail:
The “Court of [In]Justice” of the European Union has ruled that it can now be illegal for websites merely to *link* to copyrighted content – such as news articles. Again, we are talking about the “mere act of linking” (or perhaps even just printing a link) to copyrighted content can in and of itself be a breach of copyright.
Today’s decision went against the previously published advice of the CJEU’s own Advocate General, who stated earlier this year that the simple act of linking should never be made illegal.
Although the CJEU created a narrow exception where links are not posted for profit, the sweeping ruling will affect any commercial enterprise, even news startups and small-audience hobby bloggers, that share links with their readers, especially those who monetize their websites by selling advertisements.
The ruling will be directly binding on the 28 EU member nations, but experts have warned it will also have a worrying global impact, given that it affects any link that is accessible within the European Union.
The CJEU proclamation states that: “when hyperlinks are posted for profit, it may be expected that the person who posted such a link should carry out the checks necessary to ensure that the work concerned is not illegally published.”
This certainly places an unduly heavy burden on small businesses and bloggers who may not have the resources or the expertise to check the legality of every link they share.
Hobby bloggers who earn even a modest income from their work, such as by having ads on their blog, will now be legally responsible for ascertaining the copyright status of every item of external content they link to (music on Vimeo, photos on Flickr, etc.).
Small businesses which use Facebook for promotion will now need to check the copyright status of everything they share.
Who will be responsible for going back and checking all historical links to ensure none of them host copyright infringing content?
This is clearly a legal and logistical nightmare scenario. The Link Tax could make some of your favorite content virtually disappear from search engines. Users all over the world are set to be impacted.
“Links are the lifeblood of the Internet, and this ruling will have a chilling effect on our right to share and access information freely, nobody should need to worry about being sued merely for linking to freely available content. Forcing people to pass complex legal tests before sharing links is just unworkable.” said OpenMedia’s Communications Manager David Christopher.
David went on to say: “The implications of this ruling are profoundly worrying for anyone who cares about access to information and freedom of expression. It will no doubt spawn a rush of lawsuits and create legal uncertainty for any service that utilizes links online.”
Over 100,000 people worldwide are working together to protect our right to link at SaveTheLink.org
Thank you for helping save the internet from too much bureaucracy. If you are interested in any of our webhosting packages, please see this still legal link: Canadian Web Hosting packages. We also offer free website transfers.