This statement was originally published on openmedia.org on 17 October 2016.
Despite opposition from over 120,000 Internet users, civil society groups, academics, tech industry groups, journalists, and a variety of publisher groups (you get the picture) the unelected European Commission is charging ahead with its wrong-headed Link Tax plan. Lobbying: it's a powerful force.
The new Copyright Directive on the Digital Single Market is a package of copyright rules that contains both the link tax proposal (a plan to charge fees and license sharing snippets of text with hyperlinks) and a new dangerous mandatory content filtering idea (plans to use technology to scan user generated-content for copyrighted material, and remove it if detected - regardless of exceptions or permissions).
Now that the Commission's plan has reached the European Parliament, we have a strong opportunity to stop it in its tracks.
MEPs will analyse and discuss the Directive in different committees, looking at it from the perspectives of trade, law, civil liberties, industry and culture - depending on how the jobs get divided up. They might all have different roles in analyzing this package, but they all get to have a say.
Elected MEPs need to listen to their constituents, to the public, to you. That's why we believe MEPs have the power to Save the Link and to fight against some of the worst copyright rules we've ever seen.
And we're delighted that a number of MEPs are already speaking out.
All of the below have already given their commitment to fighting link tax proposals:
- Julia Reda MEP (Greens/EFA, Germany)
- Marietje Schaake MEP (ALDE, Netherlands)
- Brando Benifei MEP (S&D, Italy)
- Daniel Dalton MEP (ECR, United Kingdom)
- Lidia Geringer De Oedenberg (PES, Poland)
They are working hard in the EU to ask questions in Parliament, and to the Commission, to rally their fellow MEPs, and to meet with stakeholders and experts to craft amendments and changes that will make this law work for more than just legacy newspaper owners.
But this is just the beginning. We'll be asking more MEPs to commit to save the link over the next few months. If you reach out to your MEP and they give their views, let us know using the form here and we will add their name to the list of MEPs who are saving the link. Or are you a Member of the European Parliament committed to standing up for Internet users' rights? Let us know.
We want that list to look a lot longer this time next month!