Keeping an eye on European legislation

If you are interested in selling pictures of the Versailles Palace, the Coliseum or the Notre Dame Cathedral you should check what copyright rules in your European country, although most Member States don’t impose costs. This is what the European Parliament (EP) voted on in plenary session on 09/07, keeping the current legislation and rejecting the proposal that would make mandatory having prior permission from the author for the marketing of images from works exhibited in public places.

The vote is part of the package that examines the current European rules on copyright and makes recommendations for legislative reforms that the Commission should present by December. The goal is to modernize legislation to make it compatible with the digital age.

Currently, Belgium, Italy and France already use the Community Directive 2001/29/EC on “the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society” and restrain the market replication of buildings and public works. In Paris, to use photos of the lit Eiffel Tower commercially, authorization is necessary. The night lighting of the monument is considered technically a work of art. If the image is captured in the daytime it can be used freely.

In Germany, for example, there is not any restriction.

“The creative sectors form an engine for economic growth and jobs in the EU, employing over 3.3% of the EU’s workforce and generating more than 4.2% of the EU’s GDP.  With that in mind, we are grateful to the many Members of the European Parliament who worked to improve this report.  One of the key points that the report stresses that should be of interest to policy makers around the world is the need for convincing data, an objective economic and legal analysis before any legislative initiative on copyright is undertaken”, says Stan McCoy, president of Motion Picture Association (MPA) in Europe.

The report adopted by the EP also addresses the issue of cross-border accessibility (geo-blocking practices should not prevent cultural minorities living in EU member states from accessing existing content or services in their language). Additionally, the report mentions copyright remuneration.  MEPs defend the need to ensure that authors and performing artists receive appropriate remuneration both in the digital environment as in the analog world.

In Brazil, chapter IV of Law 9610/98 (Copyright Law) it is expected that the works located in public places can be photographed, reproduced and represented freely without the need for prior authorization, although the law does not determine the type of work. Remember however that the concept of public area contained in the Brazilian Traffic Code is “free space for the municipality for circulation to stop or parking of vehicles, or the movement of pedestrians, such as pavement, parks, areas of leisure, boardwalks”.