German MEP Julia Reda's brilliant recommendations for reforming EU copyright have passed the European Parliament, and the dastardly attempt to make it illegal to take "commercial" photos in public places has been killed.
Included in Reda's successful recommendations are the creation of a single European territory without geoblocking for videos and music. And as mentioned, it enshrines the "freedom of panorama," which affirms the right of photographers to take and use photos of public places, even if those photos include copyrighted imagery, such as posters, t-shirt logos, or even (in some EU states) building facades.
Reda's success coincided with a EU Parliament rejection of a plan to give newspaper publishers the right to tax links to their articles.
Today the European Parliament with a broad majority adopted my copyright evaluation report. The plenary 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 parliament has listened to the more than half a million people who have joined me in criticising this proposal. As a result, most Europeans will continue to be able to post selfies online and view photos of famous buildings on Wikipedia unencumbered by copyright. We must now continue to fight for an extension of important copyright exceptions such as this one to all member states.
Nevertheless, this decision embodies a central message of the report: Commissioner Oettinger cannot limit his upcoming reform proposals to improving conditions for cross-border trade. Reforming exceptions to copyright protection must be at the center of his initiative, since they fulfil such an essential, multi-facetted role: They provide creatives with the space to create new works, users with legal certainty for everyday activities, and access to culture and knowledge to everyone.