PRCA and CIPR criticise European Parliament decision to scrap 'Freedom of Panorama'

The PRCA and CIPR have criticised a European Parliament committee for rejecting moves to protect the so-called 'Freedom of Panorama', the ability to take pictures of public buildings and distribute them without the permission of the architect.

Sculptures in Berlin: Published under the Freedom of Panorama provisions in German copyright law
Sculptures in Berlin: Published under the Freedom of Panorama provisions in German copyright law

Under fresh proposals agreed by the Eurpean Parliament's Legal Affairs committee, full permissions, clearances, royalties, and/or use of authorised images would be required for videos, photographs, paintings or drawings with any potential commercial use.

Trade bodies said this is likely to have huge ramifications when it comes to photo-sharing, particularly on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

Francis Ingham, the PRCA's director-general, called the move "Draconian" and said that it would fight against the proposals.

"Not only is this threat to ‘Freedom of Panorama’ an attack on everyone’s rights, it is an attack on the PR industry’s work, which often depends on the ability to openly take and share photos and video footage in iconic public spaces," Ingham said.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR CEO, said he was dismayed at the "ill-considered proposal", which could have the potential to be seriously damaging to PR and many other businesses in Europe.

He said: "Public relations professionals already have to find their way through a thicket of licensing agencies in the course of their jobs. The proposed new EU copyright will create a whole new class of rights holders – largely architects and sculptors, who will have the right to withhold permission or demand payments before anyone can use images or videos which include views of their work in advertising or in other commercial uses."

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