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What would London look like without Freedom of Panorama? A letter to MEPs

The letter below was sent to all UK MEPs on 2 July signed by Michael Maggs, Chair of Wikimedia UK

© User:Colin Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
What would London look like without Freedom of Panorama?
Who would you need to seek permission from before photographing the skyline?

Dear MEP

I’m writing from Wikimedia UK, the leading UK charity dedicated to providing free knowledge for all and to supporting Wikipedia. I want to ask for your support in protecting the right of photographers and film makers to take pictures of buildings and sculptures in public spaces, and to do what they like with their own images without having to seek permission from any third party copyright owner. This is known as Freedom of Panorama, and it has been a fundamental freedom we in the UK have enjoyed for over a century – a freedom first enshrined in the 1911 Copyright Act.

Freedom of Panorama rights are enjoyed in the majority of EU states, but in a few such as France, Italy and Belgium photographers and film makers have to obtain third party copyright licences and pay fees before they can work in public areas. I want to bring to your attention an attempt by some of your fellow MEPs to harmonise European law to a French-style system of royalties on public spaces. These royalties create funding streams for certain local and regional copyright fee collection societies who are supporting this attempt.

In her own-initiative report on copyright harmonisation, Julia Reda sensibly proposed harmonising full Freedom of Panorama across all EU states. Unfortunately, her proposal has been utterly subverted by M Cavada’s AM 421:

16. 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

This amendment would be disastrous. Although its proponents argue that ordinary citizens are non-commercial and would not need to seek licences, that is incorrect. Many citizens use Facebook, Tumblr and other commercial social media sites, and uploads to such sites would put photographers at legal risk, even if no money changes hands.

[Continues...]

Read more at blog.wikimedia.org.uk

About Wikimedia UK

The Wikimedia projects are special: they are written and curated by thousands of volunteers. They are also supported by voluntary donations, through Wikimedia UK, the Wikimedia Foundation and other international chapters.

Wikimedia UK is a charity registered in England and Wales that supports and promotes Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects such as Wikimedia Commons. Our mission is to help people and organisations create and preserve open knowledge, and to help provide easy access for all. We do this by supporting volunteer editors and contributors ('Wikimedians'), by working in partnership with cultural and educational institutions, by hosting training sessions and editing events, and by acting to advocate the benefits of open knowledge generally.

There are several ways to get involved in the charity's work. You can become a member for just £5 per year. You can volunteer to work with us in a variety of ways, both online and offline. You can also make a donation (and if you're a UK taxpayer, we can claim Gift Aid). Subscribe to our Friends' Newsletter to stay in touch. Click the buttons below to learn more.

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Для української мови Вікіпедії ласка, відвідайте http://uk.wikipedia.org; для Вікімедіа Україна відвідайте http://ua.wikimedia.org
For the Ukrainian language Wikipedia please visit http://uk.wikipedia.org; for Wikimedia Ukraine please visit http://ua.wikimedia.org

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