Last month, we shared how “freedom of panorama” has come under attack in Europe. According to a proposed amendment to copyright reforms being considered, photographers would need to seek authorization before commercially using photos showing copyrighted works that are permanently located in public spaces.
Once word of the proposed amendment got out, photographers have been working hard to speak out against the proposal in order to retain freedom of panorama.
On July 3rd, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales himself wrote an op-ed for The Guardian to warn the public about the threat faced by freedom of panorama.
He points out that one example of freedom of panorama being restricted is the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Photographers can shoot the tower during the day rights-free, but the various lighting designs at night are protected by copyright, meaning you can’t publish commercial photos of the illuminated tower without seeking permission first.
“The ‘reform’ would have terrible consequences for the way we share and create culture and knowledge,” Wales writes. “Photojournalists would need to seek permission after permission instead of doing what they do best: taking fine photographs.”
“Freedom of panorama is the unrestricted right to use photographs of public spaces, without infringing the rights of the architect or the visual artist. Wikipedia only uses freely licensed images,” he continues. “Unless the legal affairs committee rejects the proposal, hundreds of thousands of images on Wikipedia would be subject to copyright restrictions and would face the risk of being removed.”
There’s now a petition on Change.org that calls upon European Parliament to not only strike down this proposed amendment, but to go further and extend full freedom of panorama to all member states of the European Union. Since being started just 2 weeks ago, the petition has already attracted over 315,000 signatures from people around the world.
If you live in the EU, you can help stop the proposal by writing to your Member of the European Parliament and asking them to vote against it on July 9th in Strasbourg. Owen Blacker has written up some helpful instructions on how to do so over at Vantage.