Freedom of Panorama in Europe in 2015/Learn more

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New copyright legislation is currently under consideration in the European Parliament.

Background[edit]

Current scope of freedom of panorama in Europe.     OK, including works of art     OK for buildings only     OK for non-commercial use only     Not OK     UnknownThe committee text would turn the map red or yellow for all EU countries.

This legislation expected the Freedom of Panorama to be universal and pan-European. Despite all efforts to promote this issue, and recommendations from colleagues and interested groups, on 16 June 2015 the members of the Legal Affairs Committee voted for amendment 421, which would restrict Freedom of Panorama to non-commercial use only.

Commercial and non-commercial are legally not clearly defined and such a distinction on the internet is sometimes impossible to make. The Wikimedia movement encourages freedom for contributors and wants to ensure that its educational materials are spread as widely and efficiently as possible. Therefore, content is licensed to allow even commercial uses.

The proposal adopted in committee would, should it become law, abolish the existing comprehensive Freedom of Panorama laws in a majority of EU Member States. The nations on this map currently shown in green would all become either red or yellow.

Consequences[edit]

Having the Freedom of Panorama in Europe restricted for non-commercial use only would go against the freedom promoted by Wikimedia. Many of the pictures on Wikimedia Commons will be found violating copyright law. Many would have to be deleted.

We are talking about tens of thousands of images of public places in Europe. It is very hard even to estimate exactly how much content would be deleted from Wikimedia Commons.

Time to act![edit]

The time to act is now! Contact the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from your country — by email, by phone or visit them in Brussels, Strasbourg or their constituency if you can.


Go Go to Contact your MEP to get an overview of the MEPs in your country and contact them directly.

Frequently asked questions[edit]

What is Freedom of Panorama?
Freedom of Panorama is a provision in the copyright laws that permits taking photographs or video footage, or creating other images (such as paintings), of buildings and sometimes sculptures and other art which are permanently located in a public place, without infringing any copyright that may otherwise subsist in such works, and to publish such images. (Read more →)
Which countries in the EU currently have Freedom of Panorama?
Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark*, Finland*, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. (* = only for buildings, not for public art)
Which countries in the EU currently don't have Freedom of Panorama?
Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, and Sweden.
Which countries in the EU currently have Freedom of Panorama for non-commercial use only?
Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovenia.
What can I read to get more information?