Mark my words. The new EU link tax in the EU Copyright Directive will fail.
An aside, if you will on deja vu:
“There’s an expression, deja vu, that means that you feel like you’ve been somewhere before, that you’ve somehow already dreamed it or experienced it in your mind.” – Neil Gaiman
Why mention deja vu and this quote from Mr. Gaiman? Because the European Union is suffering through a severe case of deja vu even if a few of the EU bureaucrats seem unable to recognize it. Yes, we’re talking about the infamous new link tax.
On March 26, 2019, the EU Parliament voted to pass the controversial EU Copyright Directive. That Directive includes Article 11, which establishes a “link tax” that must be paid by anyone linking to an online press resource in the EU. This video explains the topic in detail:
In the first, the major news aggregators decide to pay the link tax as part of an effort to be good netizens. The adversarial relationship between the EU and American tech companies is well known. Given the tax charged on links to press resources should be nominal, one could see the Google’s of the world deciding to bite the bullet to generate a bit of positive publicity particularly after receiving massive fines for GDPR violations.
In the second scenario, the massive news aggregators and tech companies would have no choice but to comply if the notion of the link tax spreads to other jurisdictions. If Canada, the United States, and India enact similar taxes, the game is up for tech companies and news aggregators. Moving to comply across the world would be the obvious strategy if for no other reason than to streamline the tracking, reporting, and payment requirements.
Is either of these scenarios likely to play out? No, which is another reason the EU link tax will be a disaster.
Richard A. Chapo, Esq.
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