Article 15: 'link tax'

This applies to the publishers of press publications, whose works (press publications) are used online by information society service providers . The non-commercial or private use of a press publication by an individual user does not fall under this provision. They must concern press publications of a journalistic nature, published in any form of media, including paper. Both the text of a press publication and multimedia (photographs and videos) fall under this provision.


Article 15 (formerly art. 11) creates a neighbouring right which entitles publishers of press publications to compensation when links are made to their article from online platforms. This provision was therefore soon given the name 'link tax'.   


  • Fortunately, this does not mean you can't link to an article anymore. You're even allowed to do more than that: you may extend the link with a few words or a 'snippet' (a text that the author of the content provides to summarise his article). But the exact number of words you can add still has to be determined.
  • Important: this copyright protection does not apply to the facts specified in the publication. 
  • Research institutes and universities may collect content via datamining for data analysis and the development of artificial intelligence, for example. Educational institutions and European museums may also, as before, continue to freely use copyright protected content, for example, to compile online lessons.
  • Periodic publications, published for scientific or academic purposes, do not fall under this copyright restriction.
  • You may still use a quote from a press publication, for example to criticise the statement.


This chiefly benefits European press publishers. And that's a good thing, because it stimulates independent news collection in member states because internet platforms will have to compensate them from now. The amount of the compensation still has to be negotiated. 

Article 15 also contains a number of amendments to the existing law. To start with, copyrights on press publications will have an expiry date: 20 years after publication of the press release. This provision does not apply to what was published before the law came into force. Libraries will also be allowed to publish works online that are no longer available for purchase. And museums no longer have copyright on photographs of centuries' old paintings.

It remains to be seen whether this provision will not have a boomerang effect on newspaper sites. The past has shown that referrals by Google and Google News generate a lot of traffic. Will this traffic decrease when the user's curiosity is no longer stimulated by the longer extracts and he has to settle for a short summary plus URL?  

With this article, we support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.