I only discovered this week but the EU vote on the 9th July to restrict your rights to take photos in public.
If passed it will mean that if, for example, you take a pic which includes some architecturally designed edifice, and then post it on facebook to show your friends where you are, then the architect of that building could sue you for copyright.
If you have a website for your gite, showing sites in the area, the architects of any buildings could sue you. Basically the freedom to take pictures in public places is under attack from the European Parliament.
In the UK journalist's union NUJ are backing a campaign to stop this ill thought out proposal by Brussells.
The NUJ website states:
The ability to publish and sell photographs taken in public places is under threat from a new proposal to harmonise law across the EU on 'Freedom of Panorama’. Currently some but not all EU member states allow commercial use of photography and other graphic works taken in public spaces which includes items such as buildings and sculptures in the image, without infringing the rights holders of the buildings' designs or sculptures and without requiring permission of those rights holders.
In the UK this is embodied in section 62 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 which applies to "sculptures, models for buildings and works of artistic craftsmanship, if permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public”, where making and publishing photos or film of such works does not infringe their copyright. This exception to copyright has worked well for many years, acknowledging that architects, sculptors and craftspeople have creators’ rights, but facilitating professional imagery of our urban landscape which is an essential part of our culture.
But with an amendment to a motion due at the EU parliament on Thursday 9 July, instead of harmonising EU law in line with the UK law above, the EU proposal would be that the "commercial use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in physical public places should always be subject to prior authorisation from the authors or any proxy acting for them". What exactly constitutes “commercial use” and “works” is not precisely defined, but could apply not only to buildings and sculptures but to anything visible with copyright or design rights, and to any sale of images of these works. That would affect commercial and advertising imagery and editorial and press imagery, shutting down professional independent and spontaneous image making in public.
The NUJ as a member of the British Photographic Council supports the campaign to extend Freedom of Panorama across the EU. A petition is gathering thousands of signatures, calling on members of the European parliament not to limit the Freedom of Panorama in any way but to bring the Freedom of Panorama to all members states of the EU.
Whilst the NUJ are obviously attacking this from a journalists point of view it obviously has repercussions for us all.
There is a petition you can sign
and you can write to your MEP asking them to vote against this.
I've contacted 5 of Scotland's 6 MEPS asking that they vote aganst it. So far the only response has been from the Conservatives who said they don't agree with the EU plans and will be voting against it.
Add your voice and contact your MEP here or in the UK or other EU countries.