This right is called the Freedom of Panorama and the European Commission is discussing proposals that could remove it. This could put a huge burden on people sharing or using pictures they’ve taken that contain sculptures, buildings, and skylines.
Holiday photos, photos by professional street photographers, and images that sites like Wikipedia use to illustrate articles could all be badly affected.
If the artist or architect is alive or died in the last 70 years, you might have to ask for their permission before sharing your photos on social media or photo sharing websites. This would be a huge and unnecessary burden.
The Commission wants to harmonise the rules governing the sharing of theses pictures across the European Union. One of the big questions is about whether there should be Freedom of Panorama for commercial as well as non-commercial purposes. This might not seem controversial but individuals sharing pictures on Facebook, Flickr or Instagram would count as commercial sharing because the sites are commercial entities.
UK law currently allows the sharing of these pictures without asking permission – the so-called Freedom of Panorama. But lots of European countries don’t allow it. Because photos you share can be accessed from those countries, your photos could be blocked or removed in those countries. You could even be threatened with court action by the rightsholder of the public art or building.
Instead of placing restrictions on public photography, the EU should remove the current mess of laws and replace it with a simple Europe-wide rule allowing people to share images of public art, buildings and skylines for all purposes.
We want to tell the European Commission that they should allow Freedom of Panorama across the EU for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Can you tag online images with #SaveFoP? We'll gather up all those photos and use them as evidence of the dangers of removing the Freedom of Panorama when we talk to the European Commission.