Moves in the European Parliament which could mean iconic views such as the Angel of the North could no longer be photographed without permission have been slated by local MEP Jonathan Arnott.
The EU is threatening to restrict the long-established principle of “freedom of panorama” which would mean major landmarks being blocked from videos and photographs for fear of copyright infringement.
A French ally of the Lib Dems has suggested amendments to legislation involving introducing rules, which would force photographers, artists and filmmakers to seek permission and even pay to be able to film, paint and photograph some of Europe’s most famous landmarks.
The original proposals were submitted by Germany’s Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda in a report earlier this month to protect Freedom of Panorama. But the European Parliament’s legal committee, while approving most of the report, implemented several amendments.
One of these says – “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.”
UKIP Euro-MP Mr Arnott said, “This would end up being another example of unintended consequences which so often happens when the EU passes laws.
“It is idiotic and would mean that visitors would not be able to snap views of the Angel of the North and other famous works and use them commercially if they so wanted.
“This attempt to restrict the Freedom of Panorama, by allies of the Lib-Dems in Brussels, strikes at the root of our liberties. It will destroy an explicit British freedom guaranteed in our copyright legislation for over 100 years.
“Art and photography are valuable because of their intrinsic freedom. Freedom is constantly undermined by the European Union as we have seen time and time again,” said Mr Arnott.
The full European Parliament will be voting on the controversial measure on July 9.