Freedom of panorama is the possibility to make photos, videos or paintings of buildings or monuments permanently located on public spaces and to publish it.
It is a provision in copyright laws, because taking pictures etcetera is seen as a production of derivative works, which usually should be authorized by the owner of the copyright of the “object” whose your derivative work comes from.
The freedom of panorama depends on the legislation of the country you’re in: you could find a map of the european countries in which it exists here.
During the organization of the italian Wiki Loves Monuments (more informations here) we had to face the fact that italian laws doesn’t allow freedom of panorama -but we found out that there are some interpretations of the laws which allow us to do the contest anyway, don’t worry!- and probably nobody knows that in Italy: me first, I wasn’t aware that I couldn’t freely publish my own pictures of my own country!
I feel quite uncomfortable with this idea: why a good that is freely available to see and enjoy should not be freely available to rapresent? It’s something that doesn’t harm nobody, instead could enhance and promote the beautiful things that are in a country -and, as a consequence, the tourism will be encouraged too.
I don’t know how it works in other countries in which there’s not freedom of panorama, but in Italy you need to pay money to the copyright holder or to the State in order to share pictures of monuments who are located on public spaces.
Requesting money in order to fully “use” something for whose production, mainteinance and conservation someone had or have to pay money makes sense, but asking money to fully benefit of a public good doesn’t.
First of all, if an artist make a sculpture or a monument for the State it is already been payed by the State, so it is payed by the citizens, so it’s not fair to ask them to pay for something they have already payed.
Secondly, the costs of mainteinace should be carried or provided by the State: the presence of monuments or relevant buildings is a call for tourism, which should be able to pay with its income the costs of itself. And if tourism goes wrong, probably it’s a State’s fault, not a people-who-make-photos-of-monument’s fault.
Same thing if it’s not a national good but a private good: already payed, and the owner should be able to deal with the costs of maintenaince himself.
So, did you knew about the freedom of panorama issue? Does it exists in your country? And if it doesn’t, how does the law regulate it? What we could do to make it reality everywhere?