The European Commission just won’t give up trying to criminalize the internet.
Julia Reda, a German Pirate Party deputy in the European Parliament, warns on her website about the European Commission’s latest efforts to criminalize internet use by attacking the right to provide links to content through so-called ancillary copyright legislation that has already seen Spain and Germany introduce absurd laws that would attempt to see newspapers receive payment from anybody providing a hyperlink to their content.
Proponents of the legislation argue that providing a link is to all intents and purposes a redistribution of content, and if that content is protected by copyright, the owner should receive payment for redistribution. You might have thought that Svensson case would have established once and for all that making content available on the internet does not constitute copyright infringement, but the European Parliament is now using the excuse of content hidden behind paywalls, while questioning just what “now available” means to “harmonize” EU copyright legislation along much more restrictive lines.
I have spent my professional life telling my students that they shouldn’t ask for permission when providing links. It has become second nature for me to link articles and information throughout my pieces as a way of supplying the reader with additional information and ideas. And this is how the internet has functioned since its origins, and should continue to function: such practices are at the heart of the internet. Once the dinosaurs in Brussels decide that in order to protect this or that lobby we now have to ask permission or pay to link articles then the essence of the internet has been destroyed and it becomes something different.
An internet where links become a potential problem because we don’t know if the link will be accepted becomes a nightmare, and goes against everything the founders of the world wide web believed in.
The European Commission and the European Parliament has attracted powerful lobbies that are enemies of the internet as it is used by the general public. We are seeing more and more regulation to help with the corporate takeover of the internet, doing away with its neutrality in the process.
What has the European Parliament gone and done?
I’d like to take a closer look at the ramifications of the European Parliament’s legislation, passed on Tuesday, which…
This latest effort to criminalize the use of links needs to be stopped in its tracks and some deputies that wouldn’t know a link if it looked them in the face start to believe that this is actually something real. We need to understand the hugely harmful consequences of an internet run by the telecoms companies in their interests, and one where nobody will want to provide links because of the legal and financial implications.
Otherwise, we are headed toward an internet over which we have no more control than we do the television, something that is reduced to entertainment for the masses, and that is run by big business. This would be a disaster, albeit just another in a long line that our supposed elected representatives in Brussels have caused.
(En español, aquí)