Bad For Readers
A link tax will make it harder for readers to find and share news on their platform of choice, and will reduce the number of alternative perspectives and analyses to explore.
Bad For Publishers
Link taxes don't increase revenue, but they do reduce circulation — especially for small and independent publishers who rely most heavily on online platforms.
Bad For Online Services
The vague language around the link tax makes it impossible for websites to know if they are following the rules, likely forcing them to reduce or eliminate news sharing altogether.
- A link tax has been tried before in both Germany and Spain and ended up being a disaster in both places, leading to no new payments to media organizations, less overall access to news for the public, and significant harm to smaller publishers.
- Media publishers already have tools, such as robots.txt to stop aggregators from scraping their site. That they choose not to suggests that they see and appreciate the value they get from aggregators who send them traffic. Not only that, but nearly every site engages in search engine optimization, which involves quite a bit of money and resources focused on appearing even higher in aggregators such as Google News, demonstrating, again, the value news organizations see from aggregation sites.
- The initial wording of Article 11 is extremely vague, such that there is reasonable fear that some will interpret it to mean that mere links that include just 1 or a few words from the story or headlines violates the rules.
- Many media sites actually would prefer to share their works for free, and support open access systems and tools, including open licenses like Creative Commons -- some of which might not be allowed under interpretations of Article 11.
- Under the existing vague terms, what sites qualify as a media site is already vague, which could cause confusion and additional problems as lots of sites clamor for payments from the licenses for news aggregation.
Bad For Users
Users will have less choice, less access to content, and less opportunity to comment and interact online as liability and filtering limits online platform capabilities and innovation.
Bad For Creators
Intermediary liability encourages creative platform providers to greatly limit what users can do, while upload filters inevitably lead to false positives that block creators' work.
Bad For Online Platforms
User-generated content becomes a massive risk for online platforms when they are liable as intermediaries, making that kind of innovation all but impossible.
- Putting liability on intermediaries has been shown, time and time again, to lead to significant censorship, as the incentives are to pull down lots of content, rather than face liability.
- The vague terms in Article 13 will lead to over-censorship. Two decades of evidence (such as with the US's DMCA notice-and-takedown provisions, which are much less burdensome) already show this. Expanding such liability massively will similarly increase censorship online.
- Many of the proposals in Article 13 create literally impossible standards, requiring a prevention of infringement on platforms that cannot be accomplished. This will result in constant litigation.
- The vague language in the various proposals leaves it entirely unclear what will be enough to avoid liability, creating confusion, leading to wasteful spending on a variety of ineffective “solutions” and massive censorship.
- The costs associated with this can and will only be borne by the largest companies, locking in the dominant platforms of today (nearly all American companies), leaving little room for innovation and competition.