Another storm appears to be brewing in Europe that will impact the ability of many U.S. businesses to freely operate there. According to a leaked draft European Commission Communication, “the Commission will examine whether action is needed on the definition of the rights of ‘communication to the public’ and of ‘making available’,”–direct references to EU case law governing hyperlinks. According to European Parliament member Julia Reda, this means that “ the European Commission is preparing a frontal attack on the hyperlink , the basic building block of the Internet as we know it.”
What is being discussed, essentially, is ancillary copyright. Ancillary copyright includes the right of copyright owners to charge a fee for hyperlinking to and excerpting from their works. From a practical standpoint, this law would affect any news aggregator linking to and excerpting works from European content sources, not just EU based aggregators.