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The right to use pictures taken in public is under threat. On the 9th July 2015 a vote will be taken, by all MEPs (Member of European Parliament), to determine whether or not Europe will have Freedom of Panorama. The Freedom of Panorama is an act that allows the publishing of photographs that include permanent copyright buildings and art. This means that, should the act be removed from the UK, a picture of The Shard cannot be published without authorised commercial use from the copyright holder.
At first this does not sound too bad as it will only affect professionals who use photographs to earn a living. However, in reality, this will result in permission needed to upload photos to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. This is because these companies use advertisement within their websites and, in other words, this will affect more than just photographers. Sites such as Wikipedia will have to remove roughly 40,000 photos due to copyright buildings and sculptures.
People will always have the desire to express and share their feelings and thoughts. The current Freedom gives people the ability to take photos and withhold experiences and feeling in a single 2D image. If this freedom were to be removed then you cannot share these experiences with those around you; no romance of France or sun filled Spain.
All public buildings do not have copyright; so some of your holidays snaps are safe. For example, you can take as many pictures as you desire of the Eiffel Tower during the day. However, you cannot at night. This is because the night light display has copyright, so people who cannot travel to these places cannot see what iconic buildings look like. I have never been to Poland, but I still know what the Royal Castle looks like due to photography. If this law goes through then people of the next generation will not be able to see these iconic buildings without travelling there. European Culture will suffer greatly is the act is abolished.
A spokesman of MEP Jean-Maria Cavada (ALDE, France) said that no one has ever been prosecuted for a photograph in a country with no Freedom of Panorama. They also stated that it will not impact people posting on social media websites. The spokesman is therefore saying that the theory and the execution work in very different ways. The lack of prosecution is possibly due to copyright holders not caring if a picture of their building or artwork is taken. So why change it? The execution of the act currently works with no prosecutions and countries are allowed to choose how they have their legislation.
Overall, I feel that it may need slightly revising but it does not need to become mandatory. I go against the views of MEP Jean-Maria Cavada (ALDE, France) who wishes to abolish the act completely. Instead, the act should be left as it is with countries deciding at what level they wish to have the act. I also think a document should be formed, with all copyright holders, thus allowing photographers ease when deciding whether they can publish a photograph.
If you would like to take action then please sign the petition on Change.org by clicking here.