Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU statement of intent

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This statement was adopted by the board of WMEE on 15th April 2014.


The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU is a group of Wikimedians who promote free access to, and re-use of, human knowledge. This means we take a stance on regulation relating to open access and copyright.

We propose three actions that will expand the public domain in the European Union, accelerate the digitisation of our cultural heritage and spark creativity in order to promote new business models.

Public Domain for Public Works

We believe that all publicly funded works can belong to the public and can be released into the public domain.

We want to see all works published by the European Union institutions, national governments and their respective agencies become freely available.

We are calling on the European Union to set the standard and become the global leader in this field. Releasing publicly funded content into the public domain will democratise it, increase competition and give start-ups a fairer chance. It will have positive effects on culture, science and the economy.

European Freedom of Panorama

We believe that Freedom of Panorama can be harmonised throughout the European Union.

Publishing images of publicly accessible buildings is unlawful in many EU countries, as architecture and public artworks are covered by copyright. This means that there is no freedom to use and re-use images taken in public spaces.

Freedom of Panorama allows people to freely use and share images taken in public spaces. It should apply across the European Union so that all Europeans have this freedom.

Free Use of Orphan Works

Orphan works are creations whose rights holder is not known. They are protected, although there is no copyright holder to ask for permission. We want to remove barriers obstructing the digitisation and use of orphan works.

We want to see orphan works digitised and used in a way that contributes to our culture, science and economy. The fastest, cheapest and most transparent way to achieve this is to remove current limitations.

We urge the European Union to revise its Directive on Orphan Works to fit the digital age in order to preserve these works that may otherwise be lost.

Time to act

By taking these steps the European Union will enable people to make greater use of cultural works - driving participation, creativity and economic & social activity.

London, 4 November, 2013. Drafted by WMDE, WMBE, WMSE, WMNL & WMUK