South West Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, is supporting a call for the freedom to publish pictures of public buildings and artworks without restriction.  This right is threatened by what Dr Scott Cato has described as a ‘wrecking amendment’ to the ‘Freedom of Panorama’ part of a review on copyright legislation being considered by the European Commission.

Greens in the Parliament had proposed that Freedom of Panorama should be applied to all EU member states and that the public should have the right to create and share images and photographs without the threat of having to compensate for use of copyright [1]. However, an amendment put forward by a French MEP in the Legal Affairs Committee was adopted following support from the European Peoples’ Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) – the group in which Labour MEPs sit [2]. This amendment states that the commercial use of reproductions of works in public spaces should require the permission of right holders. Molly Scott Cato said:

“This amendment would restrict existing rights in many EU countries, introduce new legal uncertainty for many creators and even challenge the legality of many photos shared on commercial photo sharing platforms. Documentary filmmakers, for example, would have to research the copyright protection status of every building, statue or even graffiti on a public wall depicted in films – and seek the permission of each right holder. This is overly restrictive, unworkable and contrary to the original intentions of copyright reforms.”

Molly will be voting to remove the amendment and supporting the Green proposals for Freedom of Panorama. She is urging constituents who are concerned about the issue to contact MEPs from other political parties to make their views known, ahead of a plenary vote in the Parliament this Thursday.

Notes

[1] Julia Reda MEP, sits within the Greens-EFA Group in the European Parliament. She drafted The European Parliament’s Copyright Evaluation Report. Within this, the so-called ‘Freedom of Panorama’ (Copyright-free public space) recommended improving legal certainty of everyday activities by adding an exception for full panorama freedom across Europe

[2] Scroll down to ‘We took two hits’

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