A new EU amendment to the InfoSoc Directive will give the EU the power to ban holiday snaps which include famous buildings and artwork. The proposal threatens the long-established ‘freedom of panorama’, a principle of copyright law which permits people to take photographs, video footage and paintings of buildings, sculptures, and works of art in public places – even if they are protected by copyright.
The original proposal was submitted by Julia Reda, a German Pirate Party MEP, who intended to protect ‘freedom of panorama’. Yet the proposal was later hijacked by the Vice Chair of the EU Parliament’s Committee of Legal Affairs, Jean-Marie Cavada, who inserted an amendment requiring “prior authorisation” for photos and videos taken of works of art and landmark buildings which are ‘permanently located in physical public places.’ The proposed reforms to copyright rules will be debated and voted on by the European Parliament in Strasbourg, on the 9th of July.
It means tourists will not be able to capture in any medium iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Trevi Fountain in Rome, alongside British icons including the London Eye, the Angel of the North, and even the Paddington Bear statue in Paddington Station. The idea of tourists having to apply for permission to take a photograph or ‘selfie’ in front of Big Ben appears ludicrous, alongside the potential ramifications for those who fail to do so. It is quite obvious this directive is aimed at increasing the EU’s control over social media and how individuals use it.
The amendment has nothing to do with the interests or desires of artists or architects, but is yet another example of the fundamental desire of the EU to intervene in national affairs when it has no right to do so. ‘Freedom of panorama’ is a long-established practice in many EU nations and there is no intrinsic desire within these nations for this to change. With all the problems currently facing the EU and its member nations it seems ludicrous they should be wasting time and money discussing and potentially implementing such an unnecessary and unpopular policy. This only goes to show the quicker we Get Britain Out of the EU, the better.