[Photo credit: Callum McInerney-Riley]
UPDATE 9 JULY: SEE RESULTS OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT VOTE HERE
Seventeen UK MEPs who have so far responded to an Amateur Photographer (AP) poll say they will vote against the Freedom of Panorama amendment in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on 9 July.
The news follows a campaign led by AP and Wikimedia – and as a change.org petition against the EU plan garners nearly 500,000 signatures.
Clare Moody, Labour MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said: ‘The Labour Party will vote against any amendment which negatively affects the current UK provisions on Freedom of Panorama.’
Syed Kamall, Conservative MEP for London said an EU solution or recommendation is inappropriate given that member states treat Freedom of Panorama differently – so, he will ‘request deletion of paragraph 46′.
He added: ‘This will ensure there is no mention of the issue of Freedom of Panorama in this non-legislative report.’
Stuart Agnew, UKIP MEP for the East of England, said: ‘I can confirm that the UKIP MEPs will be opposing the removal of Freedom of Panorama.’
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson branded the proposal ‘absurd’, adding: ‘This has the potential to affect the creative freedom currently enjoyed in most of Europe and I will not support the proposed amendment.
‘Not only would this negatively affect professional photographers, but holiday-makers could also find themselves on the wrong side of the proposed legislation if they post their holiday photos on social media sites [that] allow photos to be taken from individuals’ private pages, such as Facebook…
‘You can be sure that neither I, nor my Sinn Féin colleagues will support it.’
In an earlier statement, issued last week, Gerard Batten, UKIP MEP for London, said: ‘This is typically incompetent, ill-thought out and unnecessary legislation. It will destroy an explicit British freedom guaranteed in our copyright legislation for over 100 years.
‘Until now, everyone in Britain has been free to stand in a public place and take photographs of any monument or building they chose.’
French MEP Jean-Marie Cavada first tabled the divisive proposal that all European nations adopt laws that may require permission from a building’s architect before an image is published commercially, similar to strict photography rules currently in force in France, for example.
The potential calamity for photography was first raised by German MEP Julia Reda who warned that nations currently protected by Freedom of Panorama, including the UK, would be subject to restrictions demanding photographers seek a licence from the ‘architect or rightholder of the public artwork’.
Asked to comment on a press report that the proposal has already been axed, Reda told AP: ‘The proposal has not been withdrawn, but the opinions in the Parliament are shifting thanks to pressure from the public.’
She added: ‘All groups seem to be in favour of deleting the paragraph about Freedom of Panorama now, and there is a new amendment from MEP [Marietje] Schaake that is calling for Freedom of Panorama to be extended. Both of those options will be put to the vote on Thursday, so nothing happens automatically. But I’m confident that the restriction of Freedom of Panorama will at least be deleted.’
Cavada had yet to comment when asked yesterday if his proposal had been dropped.
There are 751 MEPs in the European Parliament.
AP sought responses from all 73 UK MEPs. All 17 responding so far say they will vote against the EU plan. They are:
Clare Moody, Labour for the South West and Gibraltar
William Dartmouth, UKIP, South West and Gibraltar
Theresa Griffin, Labour, North West of England
Amjad Bashir, Conservative, Yorkshire and the Humber
Jill Evans, Paid Cymru
Stuart Agnew, UKIP, East of England
Sajjad Karim, Conservative, North West of England
Martina Anderson, Sinn Féin, Northern Ireland
Dr Ian Duncan, Conservative, Scotland
Diane James, UKIP, South East England
Molly Scott Cato, Green Party, South West England and Gibraltar
Daniel Dalton, Conservative, West Midlands
Dr Julia Reid, UKIP, South West and Gibraltar
Julie Girling, Conservative, South West England and Gibraltar
Syed Kamall, Conservative, London
Andrew Lewer MBE, Conservative, East Midlands Region
Ashley Fox, Conservative, South West of England and Gibraltar