As copyright legislation in the U.S. has often been modeled after precedents in the U.K. and Europe, this most recent European reform should be of interest to many of us.


Restrictions on photographing or filming copyrighted art, architecture, or other objects in public might get stricter in the European Union. On July 9, new copyright provisions from the Legal Affairs Committee go to a vote in the European Parliament.

At stake is the freedom of panorama (FOP), which basically is when a photograph is taken in public, permanent art, structures, advertisements, or even t-shirts that are under copyright can appear without the photographer seeking permission. It’s an attempt to find a medium between the rights of property owners with freedom of visual representation in public space. In the United States, only buildings are exempt from copyright in this context. FOP currently varies from country to country within the EU, and the vote could unify them under this language:

“[…] commercial use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in physical public places should always be subject to prior authorisation from the authors or any proxy acting for them […]”

It’s unlikely, clickbait titles aside, that the EU would be confiscating tourist photos of the Louvre’s Pyramid or London Eye, but there could be major repercussions for commercial and professional photographers. … To read full article, go to