The European Union Photography Law Debate

EU Photography Law Debate Banner 1

Tension and confusion are building within the European Union…and it has nothing to do with the economic crisis in Greece. The debacle that I am going to be talking about today, has to do with a proposed union-wide law that would essentially ban commercial photography of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the London Eye in London, without first seeking approval from the respective copyright holder. However, there is much confusion and opposition against the proposed law due to concerns that private individuals, like myself, won’t be able to take personal photographs of these landmarks and upload them to social media for our friends and family members to view, without fearing repercussions from the E.U.

Now, I can understand the E.U. wanting to make some sort of unified law, as right now, different countries have different policies. Like in the U.K., there is what is called “Freedom of Panorama” by which photos can be taken of copyrighted works in public spaces for both private and profit-generating uses. However, in countries like France and Belgium, laws currently exist by which you can’t do so without first being granted permission from the copyright holder. So for example, if I were to ever post a photo I took back in 2009 of the famous Atomium complex in Brussels or the Eiffel Tower in Paris at night – here on my blog – I could get into trouble even though the photo would never be used for profit-generating purposes. After all, this is a non-profit blog.

So you can see why there is some discord between each country’s policies when it comes to taking photos of copyrighted works and why a unified law should be crafted. However, unless major clarification are made to where the ordinary citizen isn’t penalized for doing a leisurely task during a vacation, then I am by all means against the current proposal.

Until the law can be clarified, I am suspending the expansion of my European Transports section.

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