Wikimedia Community Zambia/Freedom of Panorama

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The Wikimedia Community Zambia is an independent Wikimedia User group yet to be affiliated to the Wikimedia Foundation based in Lusaka, Zambia. It was founded in 2023 by Zambian Wikimedians advocating cultural heritage, history, language & ethnicity, art, freedom of panorama, and Wikimedia's Movement Strategy, contributing to expand the global availability of free knowledge.

Benefits of Freedom of Panorama[edit]

Freedom of Panorama is a legal provision that allows individuals to freely capture and use photographs, videos, or other artistic works depicting publicly accessible buildings, sculptures, and other architectural structures without infringing on copyright. While Zambia does not currently have explicit provisions for Freedom of Panorama in its copyright law, there are several potential benefits to adopting such provisions. Here are some of the advantages of implementing Freedom of Panorama in Zambia:

  1. Cultural Preservation: Freedom of Panorama encourages the documentation and dissemination of Zambia's cultural heritage. It enables photographers and artists to freely capture and share images of historical and architectural landmarks, preserving them for future generations. This can contribute to the promotion of Zambian culture and tourism.
  2. Tourism Promotion: By allowing the unrestricted use of images of public landmarks, Freedom of Panorama can support tourism promotion efforts. Travel websites, brochures, and other marketing materials can freely utilize visual representations of Zambia's landmarks, attracting tourists and generating economic benefits for the country.
  3. Creative Expression: Artists, photographers, and creators can freely use images of public architecture to express their creativity and produce derivative works. This can lead to the development of unique and transformative artworks, fostering artistic innovation and cultural development in Zambia.
  4. Education and Research: Freedom of Panorama facilitates the use of images for educational and research purposes. Academics, students, and researchers can freely incorporate visual representations of public structures in their studies, presentations, and publications, enhancing the learning experience and promoting a deeper understanding of architectural history and cultural heritage.
  5. Public Discourse and Media: Implementing Freedom of Panorama enables journalists, media organizations, and the general public to capture and use images of public structures in news reporting, documentaries, and other forms of media. This can enrich public discourse and contribute to a more informed society.
  6. Social Media and Online Platforms: With the rise of social media and online platforms, Freedom of Panorama allows individuals to freely share their own photos and videos of public landmarks. This encourages user-generated content and engagement, fostering a sense of community and enabling people to connect and share their experiences.

It is important to note that the implementation of Freedom of Panorama should be balanced with the rights of copyright holders and the need to protect intellectual property. Clear guidelines and limitations can be established to ensure that commercial use and exploitation of copyrighted works are appropriately regulated while still allowing for the aforementioned benefits.

No-FOP impact for Zambian Wikimedians[edit]

The absence of Freedom of Panorama (FOP) provisions in Zambia can have certain implications for Zambian Wikimedians, who contribute to platforms like Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. Here are some of the potential impacts:

  1. Copyright Restrictions: Without FOP, Zambian Wikimedians may face limitations when it comes to uploading and using images of publicly accessible buildings, sculptures, and other architectural structures that are protected by copyright. They would need to obtain permission from the copyright holders or rely on images released under open licenses.
  2. Limited Visual Content: The lack of FOP may result in a scarcity of freely available images depicting Zambian landmarks and cultural heritage. This can affect the quality and diversity of visual content on Wikimedia platforms, making it more challenging to illustrate articles and provide accurate representations of Zambian subjects.
  3. Collaboration Challenges: Zambian Wikimedians may face difficulties collaborating with contributors from other countries where FOP provisions exist. They may encounter discrepancies in terms of what content is permissible to use, leading to potential conflicts and confusion.
  4. Reduced Local Contributions: The absence of FOP might discourage Zambian photographers and artists from actively contributing their work to Wikimedia platforms. Concerns about copyright infringement or legal repercussions may deter individuals from sharing their creative content, limiting the pool of local contributions.
  5. Missed Tourism Promotion: Wikimedia platforms, such as Wikipedia, serve as valuable resources for travelers and researchers. Without FOP, the availability of images showcasing Zambian landmarks may be limited, affecting the ability to effectively promote tourism and highlight the country's cultural heritage.

To address these challenges, Zambian Wikimedians can explore alternative approaches, such as actively seeking open-licensed content, collaborating with local photographers and artists who are willing to release their work under compatible licenses, or advocating for the introduction of FOP provisions in copyright legislation. Additionally, they can focus on other forms of contribution, such as writing articles, improving existing content, and participating in community discussions to enrich the knowledge available on Wikimedia platforms.