Wikipedia to battle EU over planned censorship of photos of public places

2 Jul 201550 Shares

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A censored image of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. Wikipedia will challenge the EU over plans to amend the Freedom of Panorama, which will curtail the use of pictures of public places.

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Wikipedia, the world’s biggest public and free encyclopaedia, is preparing to challenge Europe over plans to revoke the right to use photographs of public spaces without restriction.

It estimates that tens of thousands of images embedded in articles about buildings, art and other public places will need to be taken down.

It is urging the public to act now and contact MEPs by email, phone or visit their constituencies to preserve what is known as the Freedom of Panorama.

The Freedom of Panorama is a provision in EU copyright law that allows sites like Wikipedia to use imagery of public places across Europe for free while still protecting the artist’s right.

What public buildings in Europe would look like if Freedom of Panorama disappears

The reason Wikipedia can freely depict public spaces in most of the countries in the European Union is that we enjoy full Freedom of Panorama.

This is an exception to copyright that allows people to make and use photographs of public spaces without restriction, while at the same time protecting the architect’s or visual artist’s rights.

However, Freedom of Panorama is being threatened by changes to the EU’s copyright rules. Wikipedia has published a stark set of images that show what Europe would look like online if the proposed changes take hold.

A censored Rotterdam Central train station

A censored Rotterdam Central train station

sofia-palace-bulgaria

A blacked out National Palace of Culture at Sofia, Bulgaria

A censored Milleau Viaduct in Southern France

A censored Milleau Viaduct in Southern France

A blacked out Atomium in Belgium

A blacked out Atomium in Belgium

Ještěd Tower-czech

A blacked out Ještěd Tower in the Czech Republic

london-eye-blacked-out

A blacked out London Eye

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com