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European Parliament defends freedom of panorama and calls for copyright reform
The European Parliament today adopted by a large majority a report reviewing the EU’s current copyright framework. The report is authored by Pirate Party MEP and vice-president of the Greens/EFA group Julia Reda. One of the draft report's proposals, introduced at the committee vote stage and opposed by the draftsperson, controversially attempted to limit 'freedom of panorama', the right to freely use photos or images of public buildings and sculptures. This proposal was today rejected by MEPs. Commenting after the vote Julia Reda said:
"Parliament's adoption today of these proposals on copyright reform shows it has heard the calls of the hundreds of thousands of people who have shared my criticism of the current copyright framework. On freedom of panorama, most countries will continue to allow people to post selfies including images of public buildings online and view photos of famous buildings on Wikipedia unencumbered by copyright.
"This decision on freedom of panorama embodies a central message of the report: Commissioner Oettinger should not just limit his upcoming reform proposals to improving conditions for cross-border trade. Priority should also be given to reforming exceptions to copyright protection since exceptions fulfil such an essential, multi-facetted role: They provide creators with the space to create new works, users with legal certainty for everyday activities, and access to culture and knowledge for everyone.
The Greens/EFA group will continue to fight for an extension of important copyright exceptions such as freedom of panorama, to make sure that all Europeans can benefit from them.
This report also marks the first time that the Parliament has demanded mandatory minimum standards for user rights in copyright, which may not be restricted by technical copy protection measures or contractual terms. The report also calls for a reduction of geoblocking measures, particularly to allow cultural minorities to access content in their language online. The report also calls for consideration of new exceptions for libraries and scientists when dealing with digital works, for example, allowing e-lending. The Parliament also demands strengthening of creators' rights in their negotiations with publishers.
MEPs today also rejected another attempt from German centre-right MEPs to pave the way for an ancillary copyright for press publishers. This should be the final blow to the idea, which already failed spectacularly in Germany and Spain, of introducing an EU law to cross-finance news publishers."
Commissioner Oettinger is expected to present a legislative proposal on copyright reform by the end of the year.