European Commission Considers a Link and Snippet Tax: Ill-Founded, Controversial And Detrimental To All Players

BY Heather Greenfield
December 9, 2015

Brussels – Today the European Commission released a non-legislative Communication “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework” — the Communication on copyright. The Communication sets out the Commission’s vision and priorities on copyright reform for the years to come.

The issues covered in the Communication range from cross-border accessibility to content to copyright enforcement measures. The Commission discusses how to adapt copyright exceptions to digital and cross-border environments and lays out measures to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright.

Despite serious concerns voiced by various stakeholders, as well as publishers themselves, the Communication seems to be taking the first step to embracing the idea of an ancillary copyright for press publishers — a link and snippet tax targeted at news aggregators. This measure has not worked in Germany and Spain, was rejected by the European Parliament and is deeply controversial among publishers themselves. In light of this it is worryisome that the  Commission is considering this failed concept.

In addition, raising the E-Commerce Directive in the context of copyright is misleading, particularly at a time of an ongoing consultation touching on this crucial piece of legislation.

The following can be attributed to CCIA Europe Director, Jakob Kucharczyk:

“It is not clear why the Commission embraces the idea of a link and snippet tax. The ancillary copyright failed in Germany and in Spain, it is opposed by publishers themselves and the European Parliament rejected it. It has driven smaller publishers and news aggregators out of the market. It stands in the way of a functioning digital single market and hence in direct opposition to the Commission’s own policy goals. We urge the Commission to base future intervention on evidence and facts, instead of vested interests from a maximum of two Member States.”

Contact:

Heather Greenfield +1 202 783 0070 ext 113

Jakob Kucharczyk jkucharczyk@ccianet.org

+32 492 887 943

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