For the last two years we have been working together to ensure that the new copyright proposals in the EU doesn't crush our free expression online. But when the proposal finally came out last month, it confirmed our worst fears: The link tax is still alive.
It appears that the European Commission's policy is being driven by media giants and their interests. Günther Oettinger, the man behind the link tax push, has made it incredibly clear that he's happy to push an idea that benefits a select few publishing giants -- at the expense of Internet users everywhere. Not surprising, given that he recently tried -- and failed -- to explain to news editors how people use hyperlinks. Apparently, Oettinger believes that nobody actually clicks links to travel through to a website. In this stunning display of ignorance, we're given a window into the reasoning of a person who is now in control of our digital policy.
In fact, the European Commission has come up with some of the worst copyright rules in the world. In addition to plans to charge fees for links with snippets of text, the recent updates to the Copyright Directive also include requirements for websites to monitor and censor the content we upload.
Thankfully, for now these rules are out of the hands of unelected bureaucrats and squarely in the lap of the European Parliament, and the European Council who are debating and proposing amendments to them right now.
We know they will face heavy lobbying from big media companies -- so they need to hear from you, their constituents and the public, right now.
Use our tool to tell your MEP: "You must stop any rules that impose a link tax and mandatory censorship machines."
Your elected representatives won't know there is opposition to these plans until you show them. And that's why we've built this new tool to allow us all to directly speak to elected representatives about our concerns.
If enough of their constituents speak up, we can convince MEPs to right these copywrongs.
Between the link tax and Europe's new censorship machine, these proposals will deliver a huge blow to our free expression on the Internet.
The link tax is a proposal to apply a new copyright to the snippets of text that automatically accompany news links. This copyright would be owned by the big news publishers and press owners, not journalists. It will mean licensing fees and unaffordable contracts for sites that share news. As a result, we will see some of our favourite websites stripped of links, or forced out of business because they can't afford the hyperlink fees.
With new mandatory censorship machines all websites which upload content will have to build expensive robot programs to spy for copyright infringement. What's worse -- these bots won't be able to understand parody, public interest exceptions, or fair use. Imagine videos, website posts and art deleted as soon as they are uploaded because of a biased algorithm.
Some MEPs are already standing up against the link tax, including the European Parliament's vice [resident Alexander Lambsdorff, and that's due to the pressure you've been keeping on. We've come a long way but we are still up against powerful vested interests.
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