Some EU countries' copyright laws allow rightsholders to make claims against street photographers who capture potentially copyrighted works, from the facades of buildings to public art. The EU's plan to harmonize a "right of panorama" (previously) would protect those of us who document the public world and upload our images to public places, from social media to Wikipedia to news-sites.
It's been a year since MEP Julia Reda's copyright reforms passed the European Parliament, including a freedom of panorama clause. But an amendment introduced by Liberal Group MEP Jean-Marie Cavada (France) would gut Freedom of Panorama, requiring even those EU countries in which Freedom of Panorama exists to abolish it.
This is a huge step backwards for public expression and the rights of citizens to document their own lives, bringing Europeans into conflict with copyright law -- and into legal jeopardy -- for uploading videos of their kids' first bike ride, their holiday photos, or citizen journalism capturing the aftermath of a disaster.
The European Commission is consulting on Freedom of Panorama and needs to hear from you about the issue.
Public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and on the 'panorama exception' [Fix Copyright]
For once, this isn’t something where you need to write to your elected representatives. That’s one for another time. But there is a consultation being held by the European Commission; the important thing for now is to be heard.
There is a response form on the EU’s consultation website. Alternatively, there’s an online form from the #FixCopyright team to guide you through the questions.
The EU consultation closes on Wednesday 15 June
If you would like some help with how to respond, there is a response guide from Wikimedia, with their answers available to see. Speak up now to tell the European Commission that street photography is important and brings its own benefits — and, as always, tell everyone you know!
You can tell Europe to help protect street photography [Owen Blacker/Medium]