The European Commission launched a public consultation on 23 March regarding the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and on the ‘panorama exception’, including the possibility of extending related rights to these, and whether the regulation should be different for the press for the updating of copyright measures in the EU in order to adapt these to the digital era.

The ‘panorama exception’ is the possibility to take photographs or create other images of buildings and sculptures that are permanently located in public places, and publish them, without infringing the copyright of these works, which limits the right of the owners of the work to take legal action for infringement of rights against the photographer, or any other person distributing the resulting image.

Currently, Directive 2001/29/CE of the European Parliament and Council dated 22 May 2001, relating to the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the Information Society, allows for member States to establish exceptions or limitations to reproduction rights, the right of communication to the public of works and the right of making available to the public protected works or other subject-matter, as well as distribution rights of the authors.

The main objective of the consultation is to gather different views regarding the ‘panorama exception’ of authors, investigators, publishers, online services suppliers, readers, internet users … and to obtain information on its impact, and the possibility of extending related rights to publishers and whether (or not) the regulation should be different for the press.

The consultation is open from 23 March until 15 June 2016 and is addressed to all those involved in the publishing sector and digital economy, and can be answered in any language although the questionnaire itself is only available in English, French and German.  After the consultation finalises we will have to wait approximately a month to access the summary of results published by the Commission.