Can you imagine such a situation – you go on a trip, for example to Paris and you can not take photos of the Louvre from the outside. This seems so abstract that it is hard to believe. And … MEPs work on unification of copyright laws across the community and this example is one of the most possible scenario – the most black.

Liberal-Radical Europe


Each state member has its own copyright law. In Poland, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Sweden and several other countries, the law is the most liberal – you can take photos of everything in the public places for example buildings, monuments, sculptures, gardens etc. However, not everywhere is the same. Some countries of the European Union has a very restrictive law that is difficult for us to understand – indulgent in this issue – the Poles. Well,you can not take photos of some parts of buildings that are beyond of copyright. Unless you get the consent of the author or the appropriate office.


Where is this prohibited?


Which of the buildings are “prohibited”? The Union is consistent for the one thing – copyrights expire 70 years after the author’s death. The consequence of this is a ban of using these images for example of Atomium in Brussels. But not only Belgium has such restrictions. Italy, Greece and Luxembourg are especially sensitive on this issue.


What are these prohibitions for?


It is very good question but it is hard to find a satisfactory answer for it. It seems that it is a tribute to their creators and trial to protect their rights and thus the protection of the finances because for each picture commercially used, an author could get salary. However, life shows that this model does not work at all. In countries with very restrictive rules, authors are not better salaried than their colleagues in other parts of Europe.


Solution but (no) for all


There is a loophole in the form of “freedom of panorama”, (FOP)which allowes for the performance and use of images of works localized in public areas. Not every country takes benefits from this opportunity. All these complexities cause that sometimes is difficult to recognize what is allowed and what is prohibited in the country.



Project co-financed by European Regional Development Fund under the Innovative Economy Operational Programme