Jump to content
wiskerke

Street photography in Europe under threat - this time for real.

Recommended Posts

Freedom of Panorama, the right to publish photos of building and sculptures in public places, exists in many but not all European countries. Where it exists, the details in the regulations vary.

Some in the European Parliament think that should end, not by allowing the use of photos of buildings everywhere, but by restricting it in all European countries.

 

On 9 July 2015, the European Parliament will vote on whether to abolish our right to freely take and share photographs, videos and drawings of buildings and works of public art.

 

Please have a look at this June 21 article.

Discussion on Wikimedia Commons here.

 

wim

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the kind of thing that can slip through when everyone is focused on the Greek tragedy. And the French have been so gung-ho about this, which is so odd, since they invented photography and led the way in candid street shooting. Now I'll read the article . . .  :wacko:

 

And just how would the authorities enforce these new laws? Ticketing and fining busloads of people with cameras? That should do wonders for tourism. "Look out! It's the Panoramic Police!" Maybe it's time to storm the Bastille again?

Edited by Ed Rooney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where is Henri Cartier-Bresson when we need him?

 

Can't say that I understand all the legal stuff in the article, but it does sound like this could have disturbing consequences.

Edited by John Mitchell
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first thought when I read it was how do you define commercial? 

 

Selling a fine art print of the Louvre is easy to say it is...but how about taking a photo for your own interests and then sharing on Flickr. Is that commercial? You could argue it is as Flickr is either subscription or ad based. Therefore the submitted photos underpin the basis of a commercial site.

 

My second thought was: Is this law actually enforceable on a mass scale? If you look at a city from the view point of everything is owned by someone including buildings, logos, street furniture and has also been designed by someone, then effectively if everyone enforced their rights you would never be able to get clearance for anything.

 

An effective organised counter campaign by content creators could be to simply not to even mention any museum, building, location at all and not just by not using photos. Any lack of written coverage too would soon mean a bigger downside to the copyright holder than the upside of only having authorised photos allowed.

 

Or am I barking up the wrong tree. Please tell me!

 

Michael

Edited by Armstrong

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, the good old European Parliament, a never ending source of entertainment, mirth and merriment!

 

Why can't they find something useful to debate and vote on?

 

Banning the use of after shave, limiting razors to two blades, standardising the length of spaghetti strands, standardising the size of toilet paper sheets, or something that might actually benefit mankind!!!!!!!

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interestingly, France appears to already have the restrictions in place that are mentioned in the article yet there are plenty of images of The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and The Arc de Triomphe,etc on Alamy. So how does it work? Is the emphasis on the buyer of the picture to go get the appropriate permissions to use the image?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically, the European system works along the following lines.

 

The French invent new laws.

The French being law breakers, (and a few others) ignore those same laws if it suits them.

Northern European countries, being intrinsically lawful, follow the rules, often at huge incremental cost.

The French laugh, and think up the next new law.

  • Upvote 9
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Northern European countries, being intrinsically lawful, follow the rules, often at huge incremental cost.

The French laugh, and think up the next new law.

 

Yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Banning the use of after shave, limiting razors to two blades, standardising the length of spaghetti strands, standardising the size of toilet paper sheets, or something that might actually benefit mankind!!!!!!!

Don't forget standardizing the amount of toppings a pizza could have is very very important as well, if not slightly more important  ;)  :P

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Banning the use of after shave, limiting razors to two blades, standardising the length of spaghetti strands, standardising the size of toilet paper sheets, or something that might actually benefit mankind!!!!!!!

Don't forget standardizing the amount of toppings a pizza could have is very very important as well, if not slightly more important  ;)  :P

 

Thank you PatrioticAlien, Damn!!!!, how could I have forgotten that one?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically, the European system works along the following lines.

 

The French invent new laws.

The French being law breakers, (and a few others) ignore those same laws if it suits them.

Northern European countries, being intrinsically lawful, follow the rules, often at huge incremental cost.

The French laugh, and think up the next new law.

Surely not?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically, the European system works along the following lines.

 

The French invent new laws.

The French being law breakers, (and a few others) ignore those same laws if it suits them.

Northern European countries, being intrinsically lawful, follow the rules, often at huge incremental cost.

The French laugh, and think up the next new law.

 

You are so spot on with that one paulm.  

 

Ask anyone in transport for example - the number of new regs that come out are a nightmare - we seem to be the only country that sticks rigidly to the letter of the regulation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Eiffel tower copyright case is well published. the Eiffel tower is free, but get some money they copyrighted the night lights.

In Holland we had the architect demanding money from everyone depicting his bridge.

 

E6HYB9.jpg

(Which is a blatant copy of a rejected drawing by Calatrava where he did an internship. Upon completion It swung like Galoppin' Gertie. This film btw is shown to first year students in their first week as a warning. Computing structural frequency and wind flutter are definitely part of the first year's curriculum as well.)

 

Well he had to back down after a couple of years when The Netherlands re-asserted that there is freedom of panorama in the case of buildings and permanent art in public space.

Freedom of Panorama (FoP) all over the world overview here.

 

wim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Banning the use of after shave, limiting razors to two blades, standardising the length of spaghetti strands, standardising the size of toilet paper sheets, or something that might actually benefit mankind!!!!!!!

Don't forget standardizing the amount of toppings a pizza could have is very very important as well, if not slightly more important  ;)  :P

 

Thank you PatrioticAlien, Damn!!!!, how could I have forgotten that one?

 

 

Don't forget the straight cucumber too.

 

Allan

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Don't forget the straight cucumber too"

 

Thanks Allan. This also reminds me of the even more important fruit and veg issue, that of the straight Banana!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to this, photographers should be aware of a new law coming into force in Spain next week bringing in fines for taking "unauthorised photographs" of the police and military.

 

I've no idea of the details, but I would expect the police to be fairly keen to exercise their powers in the first few months of this law coming into effect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Australia has enough nanny state laws for the whole world - but at least hasn't yet gone down this route.

 

The world is being taken over by the small minded rule makers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Australia has enough nanny state laws for the whole world - but at least hasn't yet gone down this route.

 

The world is being taken over by the small minded rule makers

Well, actually, it is not that straightforward. Australia has certain limited exceptions in respect of photographing buildings and permanent public sculptures, but not public 2D artistic works. So, photographing a building which, say, has a painted mural on it will still infringes copyright, but in the mural not the building. As will including a temporary sculpture in the image. The exceptions that do exist only relate to taking and publishing any photos, and use in a film or TV broadcast (if incidental), but not 'communicating to the public' (which covers Internet use)....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The author of the original legislation Julia Reda's full proposal is here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We don't need the exception her, of course, as we already have it for non-flat works of art.

There's no prospect of the French suggestion being adopted. Our copyright law is made by Parliament, not the EU. We invented it, after all.

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Julia Reda writes this commentary on the amendment:

On a few points it proved impossible to reach a compromise, so it all came down to votes – and we lost them:

 

Regarding freedom of panorama, a troubling amendment was adopted with the support of EPP and S&D stating that commercial use of reproductions of works in public spaces should require express permission by the rightsholders. This would restrict existing rights in many EU member states, introduce new legal uncertainty for many creators and even call the legality of many photos shared on commercial photo sharing platforms like Instagram and Flickr into question. 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 their movie – and seek the permission of each rightholder. It’s absurd.

 

 

This article explains what the problem is and what at this moment can be done:

If you're an EU citizen, for maximum impact please contact each of your local MEPs and ask them to communicate your concern to the MEP responsible for co-ordinating their group position on the matter—in the UK, for example, this would be Sajjad Karim (on-side?) for the Conservatives, or Mary Honeyball (wobbly?) for Labour—and ask them to ask the coordinating MEP to confirm that the group will be seeking to remove this clause as it currently stands from the report, and defend the full right to make use of photographs taken in public places, in this case the existing UK law. In this way you'll get the chance to learn what the group's detailed current position is (which you may then find you need to work to persuade your own MEP away from). The coordinating MEP will also thus be made aware of the full range of concerns being expressed to the group, and may be more likely to answer a request forwarded by a fellow MEP than a direct approach.

As with any communication of this kind, it makes all the difference if you can make your letter personal. Why does it mean something personally to you to be able to take a photograph of a public place, and do with it as you wish? For example, is there such a photograph you have taken that has a particular significance to you? Has it been reused in a commercial context? Or have you done research for which it has made all the difference to find comprehensively illustrated material in a library, a bookshop, or on the internet? The more you can talk about your personal experience and why this matters to you, to make your letter different from anybody else's, the more impact you will have. It is particularly important to communicate to MEPs why non-commercial use only is not enough.

 

wim

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EU citizen? What's that?
I don't think my nationality can have changed since my birth before the UK joined the Common Market.

Edited by spacecadet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The EU is not them. It's us.

 

wim

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this has been gathering a bit of interest, I have written a blog post on my "day" job site which looks at what is happening in the EU, and also from the Australian perspective:  http://novarelegal.com.au/2015/06/freedom-of-panorama-copyright/   I have been a bit hesitant to post here, because Alamy might anyway object for "cross-promoting", but it may be of interest to some.  

 

One thing to bear in mind is that "freedom of panorama" is by no means an unlimited right across Europe.  There is a map on Reda's site which shows the current position in the EU, though I can't vouch for its accuracy: https://juliareda.eu/2015/06/fop-under-threat/   Contrary to what some may be presuming, rights vary considerably already.  Germany arguably has the most generous FOP laws, France the most restrictive, and the rest of Europe (including the UK) sit somewhere in the middle.  From what I gather, Reda was pushing for something closer to the current German position, the French committee members have prevailed at this early stage in pushing for the current restrictive French position to be adopted EU wide.  My understanding is that this is a very early stage in what will be a protracted process and, I'll go out on a limb and say, I expect that very few EU countries will make any changes to their existing laws on this issue.  The EU's efforts to get the 2001 Directive on copyright adopted uniformly did not succeed, I doubt that the latest round of amendments will either.  But I can well understand why lobbying EU MEP's is a good idea.  I am a dual citizen, and may do the same, though need to give some more thought to exactly what points to put forward.  My "other " country is one that already limits FOP to non-commercial use.

 

On a personal note, the irony certainly hasn't escaped me that everyone is so quick to jump on board supporting the Pirate Party's agenda here.  They don't exactly have a reputation for being rights holders' best friends.  As a photographer, selfishly of course, I want as much freedom as possible to photograph what I want, but perhaps I would see things a little differently if I were an artist or architect with works in public places.  Or put it this way, not sure how I would feel if one of my photographs was attached to a building, or displayed in a public space, and others had the freedom to re-photograph and sell images or it - which is what Reda's proposal would have allowed at its broadest. This goes further than current UK or Australian law.  I think there is a balancing exercise to be made against competing rights here, as well as considering the practical constraints around licensing and enforcement (which is probably the rationale for exceptions under UK/AU law).  Then again, it is also a bit of a slippery slope to argue that lack of enforceability as a reason for opposing any restriction - same might be said (and is said) as an excuse for watering down copyright protection for online use of images, music and film.  Just saying...

 

Edited by KerinF
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The EU is not them. It's us.

 

wim

It certainly doesn't feel like 'us' when horsefeathers like this emerges from it.

Edited by spacecadet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.