Don’t Block Out Our Structures!
Fun fact- the Wikimedia Foundation is my charity of choice of regular donations. Sure, Wikipedia isn’t perfect; I’ve seen my fair share of mistakes, and some of the world’s finest engineers are remembered by stubs compared to the reams written about idioteque célèbre like Paris Hilton. But it represents a fantastic free resource, provided in democratic independence (there are no adverts on Wikipedia); an unprecedented example of global collaboration.
Why not take a moment to click a few buttons and politely suggest that the EU might have better things to do than stop us photographing the world we’ve built.
And it is thanks for Wikipedia that I learnt that the EU is giving the sort of evil a go that I only normally associate with the US Senate. You see, they’re planning on pulling our Freedom of Panorama. I expect you have no idea about this birth right; but you use it all the time (especially if you’re a structural engineer who enjoys a geek-out on holiday). In fact, there are whole pages on Being Brunel that owe their existance to this right.
So- what is your Freedom of Panorama. In short it is a copyright exception that allows people to freely photograph public spaces. More specifically it permits you to capture the image of buildings and external works of art without infringing on the copyright of the architect/artist. Most of my #EngineeringIsArt series relies heavily on this freedom.
One of the best ways to publicise and celebrate the work we do as engineers is to photograph the final product; no dynamic STEM website is complete without a picture of a mega-structure! For a little bit of hyperbole; this proposal could require a payment to share a photo of a structure you’ve helped design on Facebook, and allow our friends on the Garden Bridge to strip its image from all criticism.
The proposal is in very early stages; and it’s influence on internet images is due more to ambiguity and the failure of copyright law to keep up with the digital age, rather than direct targeting. Nevertheless; internet freedom is important, as is the ability to celebrate the built environment freely and without the sort of financial copyright exploitation we see so often in patent law.
So why not take a moment to click a few buttons and politely suggest that the EU might have better things to do than stop us photographing the world we’ve built.