BAPLA Position on Freedom of Panorama


Who we are

BAPLA, founded in 1975, is the UK trade association for picture libraries and agencies.  Members include the major news, stock and production agencies as well as sole traders and cultural heritage institutions. BAPLA members supply a substantial number of the images seen every day in print and digital media. Our members employ in the region of 2,500 people in the UK and generate revenue for, and manage the interests of over 120,000 creators and rights holders. The photographic sector is unique within the framework of the UK creative industry.

Our position

Any revision which would mean the removal of the UK copyright exception Section 62 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), would be unwelcome by the UK photography community, and sister communities in Europe which also benefit from a similar exception. However, to the extent that the “panorama exception” grants broader rights than the current exception available under section 62, we would welcome harmonising the scope of s.62 so that it covers the broadest scope of copyright works appearing in public.

The removal of section 62, or the “freedom of panorama” rights across all EU member states, would have a significant adverse economic impact on a creative community such as photographers. Fewer photographers would be prepared to license their images due to additional responsibility for carrying out a complex assessment, on a country-by-country basis, of what rights would have to be cleared. This would, in turn, impact the volume of images available to customers via lawful licensing avenues, and, by necessity, further strengthen the position of search engines which do not discriminate between lawful and infringing content.

The extent of the harm to picture agencies and photographers of all kinds will further depend on an analysis of potential uses of the image, i.e. whether the use is commercial or non-commercial (to the extent those can be easily distinguished). With a mixture of professional photography and amateur photography used by entrepreneurs and SMEs to European and global corporate companies, we would support at the very least maintaining the current status quo enjoyed by many EU country states that possess an exception, or better still, broadening the scope of the exception to include other copyright works available in public (e.g. murals, graffiti). We would also welcome the use of such a copyright exception to assist the harmonisation of copyright law across all EU member states.

Isabelle Doran

BAPLA Chairperson

British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies
59 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, London SE3 0BS, United Kingdom