Have you heard about this attack on photography?
The Freedom of taking photos in public places is under attack. Until now, in most countries in Europe you were safe to take and publish photographs that are taken from public ground – This is called Freedom of Panorama. When you were on vacation, you could take a photo from the London Eye and share it with your friends on Facebook*. If someone wanted to pay you for using this photo, that was okay as well. But this is about to change and may destroy photography as we know it.
When news of this Change.org petition dropped into my inbox, my first thought was, “It’s not April 1st is it?” It really did sound quite mad. However, when I read on, it seems that bureaucratic trouble-making was seriously at work here.
Julia Reda, a Member of the European Parliament from Germany, had highlighted that whilst in most European countries the Freedom of Panorama for photography is enshrined in law, in some other European countries, such as France and Italy, there is no Freedom of Panorama law. Through her position as a Member of the European Parliament, Julia Reda was seeking to address this situation. Freedom of Panorama allows anyone to take, publish and sell photographs of public buildings or structures provided they are taken from areas that are open to the public.
However, the current draft amendment for a new European Union law on this issue has turned Julia Reda’s plan on its head. Instead of providing for Freedom of Panorama for photography in a few more countries, the draft law seeks to take this freedom away from everyone! As Nico Trinkhaus has said in the text of his Change.org petition, if we allow this law to be passed, street, travel and architecture photography would effectively be killed stone dead. *Julia Reda has pointed out, you could not even privately upload your photos to Facebook without seeking the consent of the relevant architect, as uploading grants Facebook a license to use the photograph commercially.
When I read this last part, I was just wondering how the European Parliament proposes that people might make contact with architects who are no longer with us … when my son sent me a link to Wikipedia –
“Absence of full Freedom of Panorama means we can’t illustrate Wikipedia properly.”
W-h-A-A-A-t! Imagine life without Wikipedia … no, I can’t either.
I hope you will agree with 190,000 of us that this European Parliamentary madness must be challenged. Please take a look at the petition that Nico Trinkhaus has put on Change.org. If you are in the EU, you can also help by writing to your MEPs. Here in North East England, our Labour MEPs have said on their website:
“This amendment is a bad proposal and as MEPs we’re working to make sure it’s rejected:”
J Peggy Taylor