EU Link Tax Update

31 May 2016 — Open Media

We’re excited to share some big news about the Save the Link campaign.

On Wednesday the European Commission announced the results of their consultation on platforms where thousands of you gave your views on the link tax and proposed new copyright laws.1

And that’s not all: the Commission also announced new legislative proposals on a wide range of issues, including the link tax.2

We’ve been sifting through all of this for what it means for our campaign to save the link. Turns out there’s good news and there’s some more challenging news.

First the good news: Your voice was heard!
We were worried that the Commission might disregard your input altogether, but thanks to your actions earlier in the year, tweeting at them and demanding to be heard, your voices are now fully counted in this final synopsis. Not only that, the Save the Link campaign is given a substantial amount of space in the Commission’s report!3 We’re really pleased to see them listening and counting you.

Thanks to you, the Commission had no choice but to admit that their link tax is unpopular and undemocratic. That’s a really powerful achievement.

But it’s not over yet
In a separate document your OpenMedia team analysed, the Commission, led by Oettinger, slyly admitted they plan to push forward the link tax anyway.4

They used a new phrasing5 but it still sounds like the same old idea: looking for a way to charge for sharing content, and for simply making links available.

We’ll have to make sure we continue to show up in force to stop them. They still have one last consultation on the link tax issue, partly because of the attention we’ve stirred up on this. So let’s not stop now!

While we’re disappointed that the Commission is apparently pre-empting its results by announcing these plans, if enough people say no to link tax laws they will have no justification to go ahead with this idea.

We couldn’t have come this far without generous community donations — Can you help grow our numbers by donating now? Your $10 gift today will ensure hundreds more can see this campaign and join our ranks.

Thank you for standing up and taking action, you’re making a huge difference.

Best wishes,

Ruth, on behalf of your OpenMedia team

P.S. A special notice
After I delivered your comments to top MEPs in Strasbourg a couple of weeks ago, MEP Julia Reda asked me to pass on a personal message for all of you:

“I would like to personally thank you for joining us on the #SaveTheLink campaign to protect the freedom of expression online. On May 12th, we received 10,599 signatures at the European Parliament from all those who joined the campaign and who refuse the idea of an ‘ancillary copyright’ which would grant further control to publishers on how people consume and share content online, but which would mean a restriction on one of the internet basic principles: the freedom to link.

We really appreciate your effort and I encourage you to spread the word and also fill out the European Commission final public consultation on “ancillary copyright” and Freedom of Panorama to make sure your voice is heard. The moment to act is now. Speak out!”

[1], [3] Full report on the results of the public consultation on the Regulatory environment for Platforms, Online Intermediaries and the Collaborative Economy. Source: EU Commission
[2] EU to relax online shopping, but not film or music. Source: EuroObserver
[4] Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market Opportunities and Challenges for Europe. Source: EU Commission
[5] “a fairer allocation of value generated by the online distribution of copyright protected content by online platforms providing access to such content.”


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