Svoboda on link tax: "I do not see any positive consequences for anyone"

Am 7. August 2018 - 11:32 Uhr von Tom Hirche

In July 2017, the European People's Party (EPP) had adopted a joint position that fully endorses the Commission's plan for the introduction of an ancillary copyright for press publishers (link tax). But this has not changed the fact that party members are against this new right and actively try to prevent it. With MEP Svoboda, a very influential one has publicly renewed his criticism.

Various EPP members had tabled amendments calling for the deletion of the link tax before the respective votes in their respective European Parliament Committees on the Commission's proposal for a new copyright directive took place. So was Svoboda who still is not only a member of the important JURI Committee but also chairs it. When the plenum of the Parliament had to decide whether or not to reject the JURI report and withdraw MEP Axel Voss's negotiating mandate, Svoboda abstained from voting meaning that he does not support the decision his Committee made.

A few days ago in the middle of summer break, he has given the Czech website EURACTIV an interview where he makes it clear that a link tax will not help anyone, especially not the publishers. Svoboda refers to the experiences made in Germany with a similar right which proved that quality and plurality of the press could not be reached this way. Instead, he prefers to give publishers a legal presumption of representation of authors just as former MEP Therese Comodini Cachia (EPP) had proposed in the JURI Committee before. This would simplify both licensing and the enforcement of copyright by the publishers.

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