It’s an exception to the normal rules of copyright. Usually the copyright owner has exclusive rights to control the creation of works that were inspired by it, but when the original is in a public place, (like a sculpture or a building) we’re all allowed to paint or photograph these pieces of 3D art without permission. We have Freedom of Panorama in the UK but other countries in Europe don't have it.
MEPs are about to vote on a report on copyright reform. It's a positive attempt to create better copyright laws across the EU. It proposes sharing the UK's Freedom of Panorama with EU states. However, some MEPs want to remove the Freedom of Panorama completely. Their proposal says that items in public - like buldings or statues - should always need authorisation from their authors for any commerical use. These days commerical use can be very unclear, and even include being shared on a commercial entity - like Facebook or Flickr.
At the moment in France you can’t commercially publish (remember that includes Facebook and Flickr) a photo you've taken of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, because the light show is copyrighted. In Belgium, the MEPs voting on this could be in breach for taking selfies at the EU Parliament building! The vote on the amendments is happening on the 9th, so we've only got a few days to encourage our MEPs to vote.
Take action here to ask your MEP to vote to support Freedom of Panorama. Groups like Wikimedia - the group behind Wikipedia - and the National Union of Journalists are also asking MEPs to back the Freedom of Panorama.
We encourage you to write your own letter to your MEP, but here are some key points for you to consider including: