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European Union rejects plan to tax web links

A controversial copyright plan proposed by the European Parliament that critics charge would cause internet chaos has been sent back to the drawing board.

The legislation proposes a “link tax,” requiring companies such as Facebook or Google to pay a news source for any stories they link.

It also would require a filter on any content uploaded to the web that would block any copyrighted content.

The Verge reported the European Parliament vote was 318-278 to return the measure to the drawing board.

A second vote is likely in September, the report said.

“The draft law, known as the Copyright Directive, was intended as a simple update to copyright for the internet age. But it attracted substantial criticism for the inclusion of two key provisions: Articles 11 and 13. The first, Article 11, was a ‘link tax’ that would force online platforms like Facebook and Google to pay news organizations before linking to their stories; while the second, Article 13, proposed an ‘upload filter’ that would have required all content uploaded online to be checked for copyright infringement,” the report said.

WND reported in advance of the vote that the EU’s committee on legal affairs supported the plan.

Contributor Mar Masson Maack at The Next Web warned of the “huge implications” of the proposal changes.

“It’s certain that it’ll greatly affect the future of the internet in the EU and beyond,” he wrote.

The Verge earlier reported critics said the legislation would “tear the internet apart.”

Similar legislation already has failed in Spain and Germany.

Raegan MacDonald, EU principal at Mozilla, said the EU measure is poorly conceived.

“I think there’ll probably be a lot of negative implications that we haven’t even thought of right now because the system is so confusing and so ill thought out. There’s no upside to it. I think we’ll see a lot of damaging effects there,” she said in the Next Web article.

The Verge said the rejection of the Copyright Directive “will be a relief to U.S. tech giants, who would have incurred serious costs to adapt to the ruling.”

“Individual users would also have likely been adversely affected by the law, with some campaigners claiming the proposed ‘upload filter’ would have meant [an end to] sharing memes, which frequently use copyrighted material.”

Mozilla said in a statement the European Parliament “has today heard the voice of European citizens and voted against proposals that would have dealt a hammer blow to the open internet in Europe.”

“The future of an open internet and creativity in Europe depends on it.”