After the U-turn of the EU Parliament, private users may publish their self shot pictures in the future. Who wants to make money with them, must pay attention to rules.
Probably rarely MEPs of the European Parliament have experienced a petition with 50.0000 signatures, thousands of letters and phone calls – so much interest of citizens on their work in this week. Cause of the turmoil was a parliamentary report on the European copyright law reform, which was adopted on Thursday afternoon.
In it, we discussed include the subject of freedom of panorama. Freedom of panorama is indicating that it is permissible for photographers to take pictures of public art, as well as buildings in the exterior, to publish them and to exploit even commercially.
Freedom of panorama applies, inter alia, in Germany and Austria, as well as the Scandinavian countries, Great Britain and Spain, but not in France and in Italy. Therefore about photographers may use no picture from the night-lit Eiffel Tower commercially, without previously obtaining the approval of the operating company for the lighting installation.
The German MEP Julia Reda of the Pirate Party was responsible as rapporteur for the first draft of the report. She had recommended that in the future the use of photographs of public art and monuments throughout the EU should be permanently allowed.
Draft passed the media reality
But then, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on the initiative of the Conservative MPs Jean-Marie Cavada from France changed the design so that it roughly corresponded to the legal situation in France. Therefore, the commercial use should be in the future only allowed, if the rights holder – in the case of modern architecture so about the architect, with images of the artist – previously that would have been okay to.
Members had made with the amendment of the draft after weighing the rights of architects and creative artists in the public space in front of the right of commercial photographers and journalists. Thus they had but apparently completely ignored that in the new media reality on the Internet long ago a third group which let are not easily classified: it belongs to private users online everyday, to share their images and creations on commercial platforms like Facebook .
Therefore, it is no longer separable, which includes exactly commercial exploitation within the meaning of the Parliament draft. In case of doubt, even the publication of images on Facebook could cause that the photographer violate copyright law.
Also pictures in the nonprofit-powered online encyclopedia Wikipedia could fall under the restriction. At least theoretically even Instagram Selfie to the victims would have been with a corresponding restriction of the freedom of Panorama protection lawyers.