The European Parliament maintain ‘Status Quo’ of Freedom of Panorama

July 13, 2015

According to the European Union Parliament Press Release dated June 16, 2015, a Draft Report was to be tabled to discuss whether permission should be obtained from the copyright holder to commercially use images or videos of monuments and sculptures in Europe. Our previous newsletter, titled “New EU Law, A Midsummer Nightmare?” discussed the issue of Freedom of Panorama in Europe.

Latest Development

On July 9, 2015, European parliament by a non-legislative resolution conclusively rejected the suggestion to limit the right to freely photograph public space. The non-binding resolutions, which assesses the implementation of the key aspects of EU copyright law ahead of upcoming Commission proposal to modernize it, was passed by 445 votes to 65, with 32 abstentions.

The EU parliament decisively removed the controversial proposal to restrict the so-called Freedom of Panorama, the right to use pictures of public buildings and sculptures without restriction, which had previously been inserted by the Legal Affairs Committee.

The EU Parliament Press Release titled “Copyright reform: promote cultural diversity and ensure access to it, say MEPs” was issued soon after the voting on July 9, 2015. The news reads “Concerning the right to create and publish images and photographs of public buildings and art works, MEPs prefer to retain the current situation by rejecting the proposal in the draft resolution that commercial use of such images should require authorisation from the right-holders. Under current EU copyright law, it is possible for member states to insert or not to insert a so-called freedom of panorama clause in their copyright legislation.

The Next Move

The Parliament is believed to table a proposal by the end of 2015 to modernize EU copyright law to make it fit for the digital age.

Parliament wishes to bring a single European copyright title that would cover the whole of the territory of the EU; review the existing exceptions to copyright laws to better adapt them to the digital environment and examine the application of minimum standards and ensure fair and appropriate remuneration for all categories of right-holders, including with regard to digital distribution of their works, and improve the contractual position of authors and performers in relation to other right-holders and intermediaries.


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