Freedom of Panorama Saved

Freedom

Image © Grant Smith.

On Thursday 9 July 2015 the controversial Freedom of Panorama proposal was dropped.

Only 40 of 751 MEPs voted in favour of it.

The proposal caused mass outrage on the rights of photographers in the UK and saw a petition opposing it was signed by more than 555,000 people.PHNAT committee member Pete Maclaine spent the last week contacting MEPs to gain their support for #saveFoP.

Here are some of the responses.

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for writing to me on the Reda report on ‘Harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society’, and about your concerns on ‘Freedom of Panorama’.

Please note that the Reda report is non-legislative so there will be no changes to laws on copyright as a result on this issue.

I also should indicate that Freedom of Panorama is allowed in the UK even for commercial use under current copyright law.

However, I have been in touch with my colleague who is following this dossier for my political group. He has sent me the following in response:

While some Member States allow photos of public buildings/statues/sculptures/landmarks to be taken without permission by the author as long as the use is for non-commercial purposes, other Member States also allow commercial use of such photos/videos without the need to request any permission. While the Green rapporteur on Reda tried to gather support for the ‘Freedom of Panorama’ being mandatory across all EU Member States, which would effectively ban permission being required for commercial use, a majority for this solution could not be found in the committee vote due to the large number of Member States where permission is required for commercial use.

Subsequently an amendment was then adopted in the committee vote (paragraph 46 of the report), which calls for prior-authorisation for the use of imagery in various formats for works that are permanently situated in public places if used for commercial purposes. Please note that there is therefore no threat to citizens posting pictures on their private Facebook pages or taking photographs of famous buildings in public places while on their holidays as the only matter being discussed concerns commercial use!

Due to the fact that Member States decide to tackle Freedom of Panorama differently and the creative sector views on this issue vary in Member States, the ECR does not think an EU solution or recommendation is appropriate and will therefore request deletion of paragraph 46. This will ensure there is no mention of the issue of Freedom of Panorama in this non-legislative report.

Thank you for contacting me, I hope you find this explanation useful.

Regards
Syed Kamall MEP (London)
Leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European Parliament

 

Thank you for your email. Greens support the principle of ‘freedom of panorama’ and believe the law should uphold the right of photographers to reproduce pictures of public spaces.
Julia Reda, a German MEP who is a member of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, recently drafted an ‘own-initiative’ report to evaluate copyright in the EU ahead of proposed changes to the Information Society Directive (2001/21/EC). This report made a number of key recommendations, including extending freedom of panorama across the EU.

For more information, please visit https://juliareda.eu/copyright-evaluation-report/

Unfortunately, other members of the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee voted to amend this report so that it would have the opposite effect – changing the current law so that commercial reproductions of works in public spaces would require the express permission of copyright holders.

My Green colleagues and I oppose this amendment and will vote against it on 9th July.

Thank you again for writing to me about this important issue. Please let me know if you would like to receive further email updates about my work as London’s Green MEP.

Yours sincerely,

Jean Lambert MEP
Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London

 

Thank you for taking the time to write to Ms. Honeyball. Please also accept my apology for the delay in responded to your correspondence.

The amendment made was to an own-initiative report that is simply an examination by an MEP of the state of play in the implementation of the 2001 Information Society Directive. Therefore the current document has no legal effect, but Ms. Honeyball fully understands your concerns. The European Parliamentary Labour Party will vote against any amendment which negatively affects the current UK provisions on Freedom of Panorama.

Furthermore, the European Commission will propose a wide-ranging copyright reform by the end of this year, and the European Parliament has been at the forefront of keeping the debate going on the Freedom of Panorama and other issues.

Ms. Honeyball and her Labour MEP colleagues are committed to ensuring that the Commission, when proposing its copyright reform, takes on board the views of creators, industry and consumers so that we can take forward a copyright system which works fairly for all. This includes enhanced rights for creators of cultural content, and increased possibility for portability of services and access to cross-border content.

Thank you again for writing to Ms. Honeyball.

Kind regards,

Matthew Ford
Caseworker
Mary Honeyball MEP

 

Thank you very much for your email.

The amendment made was to an own-initiative report that is simply an examination by an MEP of the state of play in the implementation of the 2001 Information Society Directive. Therefore the current document has no legal effect, but I fully understand your concerns. The Labour Party will vote against any amendment which negatively affects the current UK provisions on Freedom of Panorama.

The European Commission will propose a wide-ranging copyright reform by the end of this year, and the European Parliament has been at the forefront of keeping the debate going on the Freedom of Panorama and other issues.

Labour MEPs are committed to ensuring that the Commission, when proposing its copyright reform, takes on board the views of creators, industry and consumers so that we can take forward a copyright system which works fairly for all. This includes enhanced rights for creators of cultural content, and increased possibility for portability of services and access to cross-border content.

I hope this answers your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Seb Dance MEP
Member of the European Parliament for London

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