EU wants to break the internet for big content

EU and country flags - Wikimedia CommonsThe European Commission
is preparing a frontal attack on the hyperlink, according to the Pirate Party MP Julia Reda.

The concept is based on a long standing wish from Big Content to be paid by search engines and news portals for articles which are free.

This is a similar to Germany’s and Spain’s ancillary copyright laws for press publishers which backfired.

Reda said that the Commission is considering putting the simple act of linking to content under copyright protection. This means that Big Content could sue you if you linked to content.

The drive to do this comes from a few states to try and solve the problem of hyperlinking by-passing firewalls legally and the EU law being a little too fragmented.

However the way this is framed it is basically demanding thriving internet companies such as google to bail out suffering publishing houses by giving price tags to exactly the same act of linking that has been clearly pronounced non-infringing by the European Court of Justice.

“The publishers are clearly wielding so much influence through lobbying that there is nothing that can stop big-party politicians from trying to misapply copyright law in order to support obsolete business models,” Reda said.

What is worrying is the leaked text is not a law proposal, but just a summary of the Commission’s plans for next year. The plan is supposed to go public on 9 December. Affecting change in the now-known versions is nigh impossibly until then.