Article 11 Amendment Could Kill Creative Commons News

Article 11 (AKA the Link Tax) is currently receiving amendments. One Amendment could mean the death of Creative Commons.

Article 11 and article 13 in Europe is one of the big stories that is continually developing. Now, there is a new development that is sparking even more outrage.

The copyright laws are currently in the “trialogue” stage. This stage involves meetings to discuss amendments to the proposed laws. Those meetings are closed to the public, so public input is pretty much out of the question at this stage of the lawmaking process.

For a period of time, there were so-called “compromises” to make the laws more palatable. Unfortunately, those compromises didn’t really make much of a difference. Digital rights advocates, in response, continued to fight the laws, pointing out that the crippling deficiencies remain.

Now, a new amendment for article 11 (aka the link tax) is causing grave concerns in the open licensing community. Cory Doctorow on the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is sounding the alarm about the amendment:

One of the Directive’s “recitals” is Recital 32:

“(32) The organisational and financial contribution of publishers in producing press publications needs to be recognised and further encouraged to ensure the sustainability of the publishing industry and thereby to guarantee the availability of reliable information. It is therefore necessary for Member States to provide at Union level legal protection for press publications in the Union for digital uses. Such protection should be effectively guaranteed through the introduction, in Union law, of rights related to copyright for the reproduction and making available to the public of press publications in respect of digital uses in order to obtain fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses. Private uses should be excluded from this reference. In addition, the listing in a search engine should not be considered as fair and proportionate remuneration.” (emphasis added)

Once you get through the eurocratese here, Recital 32 suggests that (1) anyone who wants to link to the news has to have a separate, commercial license; and (2) news companies can’t waive this right, even through Creative Commons licenses and other tools for granting blanket permission.

So, if you publish content under a Creative Commons license in Europe, then the Creative Commons licenses would be voided by these laws. As a result, if anyone wants to link to you, even if you give those third parties explicit permission to do so, the linking source would ultimately become copyright scofflaws anyway in spite of the permission given.

As a result, content creators are having their control over their own content being stolen by lawmakers just to appease large corporate interests. Doctorow did go on to say that this amendment is further evidence that these laws should be scrapped altogether.

One takeaway is that it seems lobbyists have become emboldened by the opaque transparency. While these laws would effectively hamstring innovation, new amendments suggest that lawmakers are almost eager to further put the screws to the Internet in Europe. For those who are fighting to save the Internet, it only increases the urgency to try and put a stop to all of this.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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