What happened: Last week, the EU passed the extremely damaging Copyright Directive, which will soon be signed into law.
The new EU law: Among other issues, the law mandates a “Link Tax” requiring virtually all internet platforms and websites, regardless of their size, that reproduce more than “individual words or very short extracts of a press publication” to secure a license from the linked media organization. The law also establishes that online platforms preemptively purchase licenses for all copyrighted content that users might potentially upload. In practice, this could mean they must attempt to license all copyrighted content in existence.
Why we should be worried: In a recent op-ed published in the New York Times that sounds the call for a “link tax,” the president of the trade association of news publishers wonders why “Facebook and Google flatly refuse to pay for news even though they license many other types of content” and asks “why are the platforms so unwilling to pay news publishers for access to the quality journalism that users need and value?” And rightshodlers’ associations such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have been long asking for “automated detection and removal of infringing content” mechanisms in online platforms. These policies could easily make their way into U.S. law.
Remember SOPA?: Major protests shut down another draconian copyright law in 2012, convincing Congress that the public would not stand for it. Tell Congress you stand for internet freedom and will not tolerate any proposal that mimics SOPA or the Copyright Directive.