Wikimedia chapters/Reports/Wikimedia Eesti/FoP campaign report 2015

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Project in 2015[edit]

The first part of the present report gives an overview of what has been done in the year 2015 and of the contacts made so far.

The project for achieving freedom of panorama in Estonia has progressed differently than originally envisioned for several reasons: changes in the Estonian parliament and the government, the renewal of Estonian copyright laws, legal nuances previously unknown to us (first and foremost the Ministry of Justice’s interpretation of freedom of panorama, according to which non-commercial freedom of panorama should also include interior spaces, which creates quite a delicate situation when advocating for commercial use), unexpectedly strong reactions of some of the parties involved and one of the program’s consultant’s long-time health issues due to which he was unable to work on the project.

For these reasons, the legal grounds for the proposed amendment are noticeably stronger, overview of the international context significantly more detailed and people are better prepared to have a discussion. More parties have been included than originally planned, which widens the positive influence of the project and partially neutralizes the resistance to the it. We have also reached a better understanding of the necessary follow-up activities and the need to share Estonia’s experience on an international level. However, the whole process has taken more time than anticipated and a positive result on a political level isn’t certain.

Future plans[edit]

The second part of the present report describes the necessary activities in order for the campaign to succeed, possible courses of action to promote it and potential follow-up activities after having finished the project, depending on its outcome. However, it must be emphasized that Wikimedia Eesti’s legal means enable only to influence the outcome, but not guarantee.

The decision of how to proceed with the project, either with only WMEE’s internal resources or in cooperation with LLC Blue Ant or in cooperation with a new external partner, is up to Wikimedia Eesti. The current consultant on the project, Mr. Raul Veede, has expressed his wish to retract the proposal to work on this project with Wikimedia Eesti due to long-standing personal issues with some of WMEE’s members of the board and lack of motivation.

Progress so far[edit]

Proposed amendments[edit]

The board of Wikimedia Eesti has been presented with four possible texts, two of which are feasible. Legal consultations are ongoing to specify the wording; it’s probably reasonable to present the final choice of wording to the Ministry of Justice with a note that any help in clarifying the text would be welcome, since the proposed law can be influenced by the use of terminology in other laws, not all of which we can be thoroughly analyzed in the remaining short time.

Consultations with interior architects and artists are ongoing, the response of whom will determine whether or not it would be possible to claim freedom of panorama in interior spaces (except museums and art galleries, the main function of which is to arrange art exhibitions) or the freedom of panorama would only apply to street space. The texts of the amendments concerning street space also pose the problem of creating a new legal term - in Estonian legislation, no such term as “street space” has previously been used.

Once all of the stakeholders have given their replies, the amendment proposal will be ready to be sent to the Ministry of Justice. It would be beneficial to include an economic analysis that would demonstrate the lack of real cash flow that freedom of panorama could distort and thus expenses made for any such remuneration mechanism are unnecessary. Clear numbers are lacking, because there is no statistical data of the factors that would change with the application of freedom of panorama, and there are no equivalent data in other countries that we could access with reasonable effort. One way to support the analysis would be an inquiry to the Estonian Author’s Union (see below).

Media coverage[edit]

Three different articles on the subject of freedom of panorama have been published in three different publications in Estonia, one of those articles has also been published in the blog of Wikimedia Eesti:

“A freedom we don’t have” Postimees, January 2015, with their permission, also available on the WMEE blog:

“Julia Reda: the freedom to take tourism photos is under attack” (translation by Eva Lepik, cover letter by Raul Veede, the editor decided not to publish the cover letter.

“Lack of creative freedom makes all of us criminals” (Raul Veede, Eva Lepik); Sirp, 27.11

Three more texts have been prepared for publishing as of now.

Information materials[edit]

Our consultant Mr. Raul Veede along with board member Mrs. Eva Lepik have compiled a brochure titled “What legal issues can the lack of freedom of panorama cause to artists, photographers and movie producers?” (et: “Milliseid juriidilisi probleeme võib panoraamivabaduse puudumine tekitada kunstnikele, fotograafidele ja filmitegijaile?”) that is up on Wikimedia Eesti’s website and that we have sent to organizations as introductory material.


  • Culture Commission of the Estonian parliament (Laine Randjärv and her advisors). The commission was generally positive, albeit uninformed on the subject.
  • First officer of the audiovisual department of the Ministry of Culture, Indrek Ibrus (participated in the copyright discussions as the representative of the Ministry of Culture). Had a positive attitude towards the proposal, but didn’t affirm a binding agreement on behalf of the ministry. As of now, he has left his position at the ministry, so in the interest of support and disseminating information, we might continue discussions with his successor.
  • The Estonian Artists’ Association (EAA) (Vano Allsalu, Elin Kard). Positive attitude as of the first meeting. The EAA haven’t expressed their support in writing. Their position is especially important regarding interior spaces, the question of which wasn’t discussed during the first meeting. A request to express their position in writing was sent to the EAA on December 7.
  • Estonian Chamber of Culture (ED Jana Karilaid and Director of the Estonian Graphic Designers’ Union, Tiina Tammetalu). Tammetalu changed her opinion several times during the meeting and eventually remained unsupportive. In all likelihood, this doesn’t indicate, but might influence, the position of other GDU members. As of 2016, the Chamber of Culture will have a new ED (the competition for the position has been declared). We would have to start over with the new ED.
  • Estonian Architects’ Association (project manager Ingrid Kormashov, attorney at law Eeva Mägi). They were supportive of freedom of panorama, but due to their board being very busy, making a final commitment has been delayed. By now, the board has decided to also direct the issue to their presidency, which is why a written commitment has been delayed until 2016, but it has been implied that the decision will be affirmative. EAU is one of the few organisations to include a competent lawyer in the discussion, which was very helpful in explaining the issue. The EAU has also promised to talk to interior architects, but the results of that discussion didn’t make it to us, which is why we have contacted the interior architects on our own.
  • Estonian Association of Marketing Communication Agencies (ED Lola Tehver). Extremely supportive and positive, because marketing agencies utilize public space imagery all the time, and thus experience significant legal risks due to lack of freedom of panorama.

It must be noted that almost all of the stakeholders we have contacted - including copyright lawyers - knew nothing of freedom of panorama before meeting our representatives.


  • Estonian Landscape Architects’ Union (chairman Valdeko Lukken, board member Kaarel Lääne) were the first to express their support in writing.
  • Estonian Photographers’ Association (chairman Urmas Ääro). They have expressed their support and are ready to sign our statement.
  • NGO Loov Eesti (ED Eva Leemet, Director of Communications Tiiu Allikvee). They have expressed their support and they’re ready to help spread information to their contacts, when more comprehensible informational material is made available.
  • Estonian Academy of Arts (rector Mart Kalm). He was not aware of the problem of the lack of freedom of panorama in Estonia, but he did express his support. Informational material has also been forwarded to a photography teacher of the academy, Laura Kuusk, who has agreed to introduce it to her students.
  • Graffiti artist Edward von Lõngus has expressed his support in writing and promised to disseminate information. As there is no organization of graffiti artists in Estonia, his position on the matter as the best known Estonian graffiti artist is very important.
  • Urmas Reisberg/Plank Film (Tartu Centre for Creative Industries, TCCI) has laconically expressed his support. We have contacted all film companies operating under TCCI, but are yet to receive any replies.
  • Estonian Sculptors’ Union (chairman of the board Gea Sibola Hansen). The general assembly of ESU has discussed the matter, but decided that the issue is too complicated and reached the opinion that they don’t have an opinion. It would probably be beneficial to meet their representatives in person to reduce their level of anxiety.
  • Estonian Interior Architects’ Union. They have discussed freedom of panorama in a board meeting. They then let us know that their position is the same as the landscape architects, namely that they are all for free culture and only wish that if possible, the name of the architect would be provided for images of interior spaces.
  • Estonian Documentalists’ Guild has sent us their letter of support, in which they additionally suggest a ban to use images in advertisements. It would be beneficial to consult the legal department of the WMF, as such a clause would probably cancel out freedom of panorama and wouldn’t be in accordance with the rules of Wikimedia Commons (see: Commons:Freedom of Panorama / Laos). If WMF were to affirm this assessment, Wikimedia Eesti can’t support the EDG’s proposition. However, it would be polite to add a note of the proposition to the letter that will be sent to the Ministry of Justice along with an explanation why this proposition, though made in good faith, would hinder introducing the Estonian culture in Wikipedia.
  • Estonian-Swedish lawyer Kersti Ahlgren contacted WMEE to offer her help and expertise on the matter. She was the lawyer who composed the WMEE’s freedom of panorama proposal to the Ministry of Justice in 2012.

International contacts[edit]

  • Latvia: Mārtiņš Bruņenieks, Wikimedians of Latvia User Group. Our representatives met him in Riga on November 19. The campaign for freedom of panorama in Latvia is basically a one-man petition that in case of accumulating 10,000 signatures will be forwarded to the Latvian parliament. As of writing this report, the petition has 2000 signatures. The proposal lacks a concrete text, media coverage is second to none and no lawyers have been asked for a consult. Since Latvian property laws are largely (but not entirely) analogous to the Estonian laws in the matter of freedom of panorama, the Estonian experience would greatly benefit the Latvian campaign, i.e. translating and adapting Estonian informational material and articles into Latvian. We have discussed this possibility with a translator (Ilze Zagroska, lecturer of the Latvian language at the University of Tartu), we are awaiting her reply.
  • France: Myriam Berard, an intern of WMFR, copyright specialist. She has provided us with valuable information on France as practically the only European country where the efforts to achieve freedom of panorama is obstructed by active lobby of the architects. At the same time, any economic counter-arguments don’t really hold up, our experience and analysis conducted in Estonia could be helpful.
  • Czech Republic: Jan Loužek. In Czech Republic, freedom of panorama has been applied with the so-called “German exception (a free image must be taken from a public place) - even though local legislation doesn’t state this explicitly, it’s the widespread interpretation. In Estonian context, it’s important to know how this interpretation came to be so popular in Czech Republic, who supported it, who was responsible and what legal complications have arisen because of this, since it’s possible that such an exception will be proposed in Estonia as well. As this would complicate the use of images in Estonia, we would have to be prepared with counter-arguments.
  • Germany: Nicole Ebber. Just as with Czech Republic, it would be important to know the conditions and historic argumentation of freedom of panorama in Germany.
  • Finland: Heikki Kastemaa. In Finland, just as in several other countries, freedom of panorama only applies to architecture, even though it should, at least in theory, also apply to interior space (we don’t have information of corresponding legal practices, so we can’t be sure whether or not this option is used). So far it has remained unclear on what conditions were sculptures omitted from freedom of panorama; we in Estonia should be prepared to answer to similar arguments.
  • Sweden: John Andersson. Wikimedia Sverige is currently involved in a court case over an important and possibly dangerous nuance of freedom of panorama: in Sweden, it has been questioned whether or not freedom of panorama is also applicable on the internet. Without delving into the question very thoroughly, it might not be obvious in all cases, but might largely depend on the wording of the law. Even if the Swedish precedent is not applied in Estonia, a negative outcome might worsen the context in which to try to achieve freedom of panorama.
  • The Netherlands: user:Romaine. One of the few countries, where a version of freedom of panorama has been applied that only covers a part of interior spaces (usually they’re either left out or included in their entirety). Sadly, the Netherlands is a bad example, since it’s not specified by legislation, but their practice depends on the interpretation of “public space” by lawyers, previous court rulings and even parliament discussions from when the law was first introduced. Being aware of the conditions in Netherland could become important if WMEE should choose to partial freedom of panorama in interior space.


In the following table are provided all freedom of panorama stakeholders, their position towards the proposed amendment as either an original author or a derivator based on existing material.

Stakeholder Authored Derivated Organisation in Estonia Position Notes
architects buildings Estonian Architects’ Association rather supportive attribution
landscape architects all pieces Estonian Landscape Architects’ Union strongly supportive attribution
interior architects pieces in interior spaces Estonian Interior Architects’ Union strongly supportive attribution
sculptors monumental art, reliefs, etc. Estonian Sculptors’ Union undecided attribution
artists wall paintings images of buildings and sculptures Estonian Artists’ Associations rather supportive (position on interior spaces yet unknown) attribution
street artists street art images of buildings and sculptures none Edward von Lõngus is supportive
designers street furniture logos (images of buildings and sculptures) Designers’ Union The DU has been contacted, we are waiting for a reply low influence
photographers photo exhibitions in outdoor spaces photos of buildings or sculptures Estonian Photographers’ Association support
lighting artists most of their work is done in outdoor conditions likely attribution
film producers permanent video installations outdoors (almost none) exterior film scenes containing sculptures or buildings documentalists have expressed support we are not claiming freedom of panorama for video
composers, musicians permanent audi installations outdoors (almost none) we are not claiming freedom of panorama for audio
writers texts in public spaces (for example, on sculptures it would be possible to claim freedom of panorama, but it’s not current and very few countries apply it
graphic designers infographics in public space Estonian Graphic Designers’ Union not claiming
tourism enterprises not claiming freedom of panorama for advertisements don’t use images of public artwork a lot low priority
advertisement companies not claiming freedom of panorama for advertisements use images of public artwork EAMCA supportive
(real estate agencies) not claiming freedom of panorama for advertisements images of buildings and interior architecture an exception is already made for them, FoP does not concern them
(media) images of public artwork Estonian Newspaper Association currently using the exception made for news (which actually does not cover everything published in media)
Estonian Chamber of Culture (overarching body) No support
Estonian Authors’ Association (overarching body) support is not expected


Possible course of the process[edit]

We have unconfirmed information that the Ministry of Justice plans to forward the new version of the copyright law to the parliament in the beginning of 2016. It is unknown what this really entails, so follow-up activities are also somewhat difficult to plan. In all likelihood the follow-up activities will take place in 1-6 months.

It’s imperative that we forward the amendment proposal to the Ministry of Justice before the proposed legislation reaches the parliament. From there, it could either be taken into account or not. In case of a negative response, we should proceed by concentrating our lobby work and efforts on the members of the parliament, especially members of the legal affairs committee and culture committee.

Should WMEE’s proposal not be put up to vote or be rejected by a vote, we could continue the campaign regardless of the new copyright law. Should the proposal for the new copyright law be rejected in its entirety or be delayed, any further action we can take will depend on the specific outcome. In these cases, we might be able to tie the amendment proposal in with other amendment proposals for the given law and extend our cooperation with stakeholders interested in property law. So, all further action depends on how things will unfold and our ability to react quickly and adequately.

Media and other promotional work[edit]

The majority of the larger media channels have been covered. It might be useful to repeat the message from another angle in publications in which some time has passed from our last articles, turn to speciality publications and audiovisual channels (radio, podcasts, television).

We haven’t published anything in the Russian language media, but it has low influence in the Estonian politics anyway, it might be possible to adapt a previously published article to save time and effort.

Once the final version of the proposed amendment is ready, it should be sent to the Ministry of Justice along with any annexes (analysis and letters of support) as an official proposal of the amendment and to publish in as an open letter to the Ministry of Justice and the legal affairs commission of the parliament. This would have to include a press release and posts on the channels of WM (the blog and Facebook page of WMEE, the blog of WMF, if possible). A page dedicated to freedom of panorama should also be linked on the web page of Wikimedia Eesti, which would have, along with a general introduction, all letters of support, the final text of the proposed amendment and links to additional informational materials.

Additional consults[edit]

By now, all major and influential creative associations have been contacted. It would also be possible to have discussions with lighting artists and designers. They are first and foremost concerned by public lighting art (similarly to the lighting of the Eiffel tower) and street furniture. It would benefit us to contact a well-known sculptor whose creations this proposal concerns and who would agree to publicly express their support for freedom of panorama, similarly to Edward von Lõngus has done for street art.

At least formally, we should maintain contact with the Estonian Authors’ Association, whose position we can assume to be unsupportive, but they could potentially contribute to the analysis to be added to the amendment proposal.

International contacts[edit]

As shown above, the data from other European countries are important to us as references that would help us to advocate for and defend our proposal against propositions that could limit freedom of panorama. To have all of the necessary information, we must continue correspondence with other Wikimedia chapters, user groups, individual Wikipedians and specialists of the copyright law.


In order to achieve the amendment’s approval in the parliament of Estonia, it’s important to talk to as many representatives of the different political groups as possible, starting with the members of the commission of legal affairs and the commission of culture, more influential, more easily accessible (making use of our pre-existing contacts) and potentially more supportive representatives. Preliminary analysis as to which representatives might those be has been conducted, but the actual situation may be more complicated.

In order for the support to be as broad-based as possible, we have to contact representatives from different political parties, prominent political figures outside of the parliament, and the envoys of the European Parliament who could publicly support the freedom of panorama campaign.


Should the campaign succeed, it is important that we

a) inform the public of any changes

b) inform the public of the role WMEE played in changing the copyright law

c) show that the amendment was necessary and useful for the Estonian society

To achieve that, we must publish press releases and articles and arrange for the now available material to be put to use in Wikimedia’s systems (transferring photos from the Estonian Vikipeedia to Commons and adding them to articles), preferably in cooperation with the stakeholders that supported WMEE during the campaign. In case of interior spaces be included in the law, we should especially direct attention that aspect (a new category in WLM, photo collections/competitions for high quality photos of interiors). In case of video files, we could take advantage of the generally supportive attitude of filmmakers, which would also help to promote our cooperation. We should also announce our results to other Wikimedia affiliates around the world, to support similar campaigns and be role models on the front of freedom of panorama (for example, articles for the WMF blog, translations for other Wikimedias’ blogs, announcement in Signpost).

Regardless of outcome, we could use our experience in fighting for the freedom of panorama to compose an instructional brochure or a booklet that would give advice for organising similar campaigns in other countries, analyzing the case in Estonia and various other factors in other countries and different variants of freedom of panorama (for example, in a situation where the prospect to achieve freedom of panorama for commercial use is unrealistic, to push for non-commercial freedom of panorama, that would make Wikipedians’ jobs a lot easier on the grounds of a local exception and would create the framework for possible expansion in the future.).

There’s a grave need for support on this matter in Latvia. It would be possible to cooperate with other Baltic countries, sharing our experiences also with Lithuanian Wikipedians, who are yet to launch such a campaign.

In our meetings, the issue of attribution, i.e. referring to the author, has come up, particularly in case of architects. In the Estonian society, including in professional media organisations, referring to authors is a rare practice, which bothers both Wikipedians (many Estonian media outlets use images and other media files taken from Wikipedia, at best referring to Wikipedia) and the architects, interior architects, landscape architects, Estonian Chamber of Culture and others. Once the freedom of panorama campaign is finished, Estonia would benefit from a follow-up project to disseminate information about copyright and the need to refer to authors, which would include public seminars, articles and compiling informational materials. The project would also be useful in that it would strengthen our relationship with our partners who cooperated with WMEE in the freedom of panorama campaign. This would help to publicly demonstrate the good relationships between the Wikimedia movement and creative associations, which would show Wikimedia Eesti as a supportive and cooperative organisation that would be beneficial if there should be any disagreements with the EAA or any other overprotective authors’ rights organisation and be a good example for Wikimedia movements in other countries where regretfully few other organisations interested in changes in copyright have been included.


A total of 1,200.00 euros was spent on carrying out listed activities by partner of Wikimedia Eesti Blue Ant and it was financed through re-allocation of 2014 project and event grant underspend by Wikimedia Foundation. As a result respective reports, including documentation of expenses has been sent to Wikimedia Foundation. Wikimedia Eesti will be available for further specifications about project expenditures.