Freedom of Panorama Response

I don’t normally post my social media conversations here but as I’ve had such a nice Freedom of Panorama Response from the originator of last years petition to the European Commission on Twitter, I’ve decided to make an exception.

Background

German MEP Julia Reda initiated a proposal in the EU to provide full Freedom of Panorama throughout the EU that would allow “anyone to publish photographs, documentary films and other works depicting public places without restriction.”  The EU Legal Affairs Committee then turned reversed these proposals and adopted the most restrictive amendment on the question of Freedom of Panorama, which was tabled by the French MEP and member of the Liberal group, Jean-Marie Cavada.

German travel photographer Nico Trinkhaus then set up a petition on change.org which acquired 555,223 signatures, one of which was mine. MEPs voted overwhelmingly against the Amendment on 9 July 2015, this is however not the end of the battle to save Freedom of Panorama. The EU Freedom of Panorama Response is to conduct a Public Consultation, that is currently taking place where EU citizens are invited to complete a questionnaire that should take around six minutes of their time.

Julia Reda’s original proposal read: “Calls on the EU legislator to ensure that the use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in public places is permitted.” The Legal Affairs Committee amendment read: “Considers that the commercial use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in physical public places should always be subject to prior authorisation from the authors or any proxy acting for them”

Implications

Anyone commercially exploiting images of works (buildings, structures, cultures, Etc) which are permanently located in public places, would have to identify the copyright holders of those works and obtain their consent/pay licence fees. In the case of deceased copyright holders, the date the copyright holder deceased would have to be established and if less than 70 years prior to publication, consent/licence would have to be obtained from their aires and successors. In my previous post, I set out in some detail how this could affect Architects and Architectural Photography.

The taking of holiday snaps is non-commercial use, however if the images were to be uploaded to Social Media websites that operate commercially, that would be considered commercial exploitation. E.g. if the amendment had been adopted, it would be acceptable to take holiday snaps of Public Works but to upload them to Facebook for example require authorisation from the authors (architects, sculptors Etc.) whose works are depicted.

Response

I would like to thank Nico for initiating the petition last year (which was actively supported by Julia Reda) and for his response on Twitter to my article, which I initially published on LinkedIn, “a great explanation how a world without Freedom of Panorama would be for photographer and architect!”

The response of British MEPs from all parties has been to support the Freedom of Panorama response from them has been collated on Wikipedia, some of their choice words to describe the amendment being “idiotic” and “absurd”.