CIPR and PRCA launch joint attack on European Parliament's failure to protect the ‘Freedom of Panorama’

The two membership associations for the PR industry have issued a joint statement to attack the European Parliament's Legal Affairs committee's decision to reject proposals to protect the ‘Freedom of Panorama’ – the ability to take pictures of public buildings and distribute them without permission of the architect – in EU copyright law.

Affecting the creation of all forms of media, the failure to protect this Freedom threatens the legality of photo-sharing and social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. Under the proposals as agreed on by the Committee, full permissions, clearances, royalties, and/or use of authorised images would be required for videos, photographs, paintings or drawings with any potential commercial use.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive
The CIPR is dismayed that the European Parliament has voted to adopt such an ill-considered proposal which is contrary to the norms of freedom and potentially seriously damaging to PR and many other businesses in Europe.

Public Relations professionals already have to find their way through a thicket of licensing agencies in the course of their jobs. The proposed new EU Copyright will create a whole new class of rights holders – largely architects and sculptors, who will have the right to withhold permission or demand payments before anyone can use images or videos which include views of their work in advertising or in other commercial uses.

In the UK we have always enjoyed ‘Freedom of Panorama’ – we are free to take photographs in public places and use them as we wish. The EU copyright proposals represent a drastic curtailment of our long-established rights, and the rights of citizens in many other EU countries.

We therefore call on MEPs from the UK, as well as other affected countries, to ensure that these disastrous proposals are not enacted into law. We also call on the UK government to make very strong representations in the European Council to stop this proposal in its tracks.
Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive
Francis Ingham, PRCA Director General
This decision from the European Parliament is a draconian attack on the UK’s right to take photographs in public places. This is akin to the recent attack on our right to browse the internet without fear of impinging on copyright law. We fought the latter – and won, when we met the Newspaper Licensing Agency in the European Court of Justice – and we’ll fight the former too. Not only is this threat to ‘Freedom of Panorama’ an attack on everyone’s rights, it is an attack on the PR industry’s work, which often depends on the ability to openly take and share photos and video footage in iconic public spaces.
Francis Ingham, PRCA Director General
Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).