The Shameful Link Tax!

13 July 2017 — Open Media

Just a few days ago we wrote to you about key votes in the European Parliament this week, where our right to link and to share content was hanging in the balance.

We hoped MEPs would side with citizens. But what we got instead was truly shameful.

Both parliamentary committees voted to endorse the Link Tax AND censorship machinery — ignoring tens of thousands of EU citizens and caving to pressure from industry lobbyists.[1]

The details are particularly unsettling. The Link Tax in the latest version now applies to ‘offline’ publications and journals – something academics are not even asking for! It would make open access publishing virtually impossible.[2]

This all amounts to a chilling effect on the spread of research, news and knowledge.

Those MEPs who voted for the Link Tax may believe that they have got away with it — We need to show they will face consequences and accountability.

SHARE THIS TWEET TO SPEAK UP NOW

Despite over 130,000 voices speaking up, key European Parliament committees are siding with industry lobbyists on the Link Tax.  #SaveTheLink

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We started Save the Link with 102 groups signed up to oppose regulations which censor & control hyperlinks; 137,000 people signed the petition; thousands of you wrote directly to your MEPs. These are unprecedented numbers.

It’s not about search engines and businesses; Save the Link is about safeguarding the basic way the web works. Making links copyrighted will dramatically restrict our basic democratic right to share and access information online.[3]

Every successful scheme to prevent linking weakens the foundation of the open Internet. That’s why we need to make as much noise as possible to show MEPs they’ll pay a steep political price for ignoring citizens. If you’re on Twitter, can you help us spread the word?

Remember, although the recent votes were a setback, there’s still every chance we will win this fight: the most important group of MEPs have yet to vote on the Link Tax and Internet Censorship, so if enough of us speak out we can make sure they side with citizens instead of powerful industry insiders.

Let’s show these MEPs that they have to do the right thing. Make as much noise as possible to tell them that you are paying attention!

Best,
Ruth

P.S. These votes also approved default content filtering: Monitoring billions of posts per day results in automated systems that unfairly censor legal speech and expression. When websites and companies are required to monitor content they apply their own biases and prejudices to those decisions and programs. It’s another reason why we have to fight this law.

Footnotes
[1] Stalemate Continues in Negotiations Over European Copyright Filters. Source: EFF
[2] A loss for culture and research in today’s copyright votes. Source: Julia Reda
[3] Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the Internet. Source: The Guardian

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