Censoring links breaks the Internet
Without links to route everyone around the Web, the wonders of the Internet would be locked away. They power Twitter, they power SoundCloud, they power your favorite blog: they power every site you visit.
Links are what empower us to access the greatest collection of human knowledge and experiences the world has ever seen with the click of a button.
Outdated media publishers are successfully lobbying all over the world to restrict linking on the Internet. Spain and Germany have recently changed their laws to apply charges to link to news websites. Independent news media and bloggers can’t do their jobs, aggregators are struggling, small presses find their websites unlisted, and access to knowledge is restricted. Now, old media firms have been pressuring lawmakers to apply link censorship laws to the whole EU.
Link censorship is a global issue, and these plans are happening all over the world.
In India, the Government blocks websites in a process “lacking in independent oversight and transparency.” The Supreme Court recently rejected challenges to this process, despite widespread criticism.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Big Media has been waging a long war against the Internet to protect their outdated business model. Lobbyists and lawyers have been fighting search engines, pressuring intermediaries to block access to websites, and attempting to block links and apply custom-like border controls to data and linking.
If one of these censorship schemes really takes hold it will hurt the online services we count on in our day-to-day lives.
We know that we are strongest when the Internet community acts together–and as more threats to the link emerge, it’s more important than ever that users and organizations join forces to defend our right to link.
Every successful scheme to censor links weakens the foundation of the Web. Bit by bit they impinge on free speech, hurt the economy, and suppress dissent.