EU policy/media/PR FoP common sense

Press Release Template — Freedom of Panorama for TouristsEdit

Sharing your holiday snaps? You might just be breaking the law.Edit

Every day, millions of Europeans are violating copyright law, without knowing it. Those innocent snapshots of modern buildings you took on your vacation trip may very well be copyright infringements, and it all has to do with an obscure rule known as Freedom of Panorama.

Freedom of Panorama is the freedom to share images of buildings and monuments taken in public places, a right which most people take for granted. However, in several EU countries this common-sense right does not exist.

The European Parliament is now setting its sights on targeting the problem, according to a new report drafted by Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda. The current version of the report calls for the Parliament to “ensure that the use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in public places are permitted.”

[name], [wikimedia title], welcomes the move. As the organization's free encyclopedia Wikipedia uses pictures from public places to illustrate many of its articles, Wikimedia has long been keeping an eye on the Freedom of Panorama.

“We all have cameras and computers built into our phones,” says [name]. When we see something interesting – an unusual building for instance – we tend to take a picture, and we use social media to share our pictures online. Few could have even imagined that this is against the law in parts of Europe.”

Many countries, such as Ireland and Germany, have Freedom-of-Panorama rights, so photos that you have taken there in public places are fine to share on Facebook or on a blog. But other countries, such as tourist hotspots France and Greece, do not grant Freedom-of-Panorama rights. Here buildings are considered the copyrighted property of the architects, whose approval you need to share any photos of the buildings online.

In some cases the rules become outright strange. You can share a photo of the Eiffel Tower because it is old enough to be released from copyright protection – but only if the photo is taken during the day. If you shoot the picture at night, you will capture the lighting, which is a separate installation still protected by copyright.

[name] points out that it's not just with holiday snaps that this becomes an issue. Wikipedia, a website many of us use every day, often cannot use photos of buildings and monuments even for educational purposes.

“Our issue is that many Wikipedia articles about buildings and monuments cannot be appropriately illustrated when the structure is located in a country without Freedom of Panorama,” [name] says. “The European Parliament must take care of the problem.”

The current European Parliament copyright review is ongoing, and the Commission has announced that it will propose a major EU copyright reform later this year.

See also:

The European Parliament Draft Report on the current Copyright Directive.

An overview of Freedom of Panorama in Europe:

About Wikimedia:

Wikimedia publishes Wikipedia – the world's largest encyclopedia with more than 33 million volunteer-authored articles in over 287 languages. Wikipedia is visited by more than 431 million people every month.




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