The Royal Photographic Society's blog brought to my attention the threat to 'freedom of panorama', which permits anyone to photograph a building or landmark without any breech of copyright.
However, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament have drafted a report which:
‘Considers that the 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.’
At present, tourists are able to take snapshots of famous landmarks, except for the Eiffel Tower at night, which is considered to be illuminated in a way that merits copyright protection.
With this issue comes the question of whether it is the photograph or the 'photographed' that is the masterpiece. When a photographer takes a photograph of an impressive landmark, who should be given the credit. Is it the photographer, who has had the vision to take a particular viewpoint of the feature, or is it the architect who has carefully designed the landmark to look good from any angle? Surely the designer has used aesthetics to appeal to as many people as possible, and photography is the vehicle that enables them to achieve this.
Without photographs of these landmarks, tourists would not know what they are looking for! Afterall, it is the photographs in travel brochures and postcards that entice people to visit attractions. Landmarks are the distinctions that make one place stand out from another.
If the bill was passed then it would mean a slippy slope that could lead to other images being banned. Imagine street photographers unable to include people, to protect their image rights, or landscape photographers having to not include any privately owned land or building in their images. There wouldn't be anything left to photograph. There would be no photographs!
http://www.rps.org/regions-and-chapters/regions/headquarters/blogs/2015/july/freedom-of-panorama-under-threat [Accessed 4.7.15]
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2015-0209&language=EN [Accessed 4.7.15]