Under pressure from massive public campaign, MEPs vote to keep Freedom of Panorama

Published Jul 09, 2015

Blacked_out_London-Eye-2009-300x200.jpgToday in the European Parliament, MEPs voted to reject an amendment to the Reda Report on Copyright which would have stopped people taking photographs of their favourite public monuments.

UKIP MEPs today opposed the amendment at the European Parliament which could have forced photographers in the UK to get permission to use pictures of public monuments and buildings such as the Angel of the North and the Cardiff Millennium Stadium.

Jean -Marie Cavada, the French MEP who was pushing the now rejected amendment is an ally in the European Parliament of the LibDems. He is also head of the European Movement France, an organisation in part-funded by the EU to lobby for an increase in powers for Brussels. His counterpart in the European Movement UK is Laura Sandys, a former Conservative MP.

If the amendment had passed it would have meant the restriction would be on any monument, sculpture or building protected by the 70 year copyright period. Typical of favourite shots around Britain that would be hit by this French-inspired ban would be the Gateshead Millennium Bridge (North East), the Cavern Club in Liverpool (North West), the National Railway Museum in York (Yorks and Humberside), the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge in Dartford (east of England), the Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden in Wales, the International Convention Centre in Birmingham (W Mids), the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall (E Mids), the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth (SE,) the Bristol Science Museum (SW) and the Riverside Museum in Glasgow.

Julia Reid, UKIP MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said: "This amendment proposed by Jean-Marie Cavada, a French MEP, was rejected quite rationally because it was ridiculous in the extreme.

"Why was the European Parliament even considering such a silly proposal. If people wishes to takes selfies or photos in front of their favourite monuments or buildings, surely the EU should not have the power to take it away from them. "

Gerard Batten, UKIP MEP for London, said: "This is typical of the incompetent, ill-thought out and unnecessary legislation that the European Parliament votes on every month.

"A French MEP wished to remove an explicit British freedom guaranteed in our copyright legislation for over 100 years. Luckily for us, this time the troubling amendment was rejected by a vote of 504-44. I have little doubt that even the European Parliament found this vote embarrassing. Your selfies are safe for now."

If the European Commission actually would have legislated on this proposal it would have meant that photographers, artists and film makers across the EU would be obliged to secure permission before publishing any image of famous views which included a monument, sculpture or building still under copyright.

For example, no tourist could post a picture online of his family standing in front of the London Eye without seeking permission from the owners of the copyright.

The so-called "Freedom of Panorama" exists in most EU countries, but not in France, where photographers are obliged to seek permission even to reproduce a photograph of the Eiffel Tower illuminated at night. There is no "Freedom of Panorama" in Belgium either. The image of the Atomium, symbol of the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, is covered by copyright.

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