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.