Wikipedia:Freedom of panorama

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This page is an essay. For the encyclopedia article see Freedom of panorama.

Panorama freedom allows for taking pictures in public places. It is usually subject to special regulations in local copyright laws with the goal of granting reasonable freedom for photography in public space. Such laws, generally, allow photography of publicly visible buildings and non-private scenes from public places for the purposes of publishing. The actual extent of possible allowed usage of a picture taken in a public place is usually wider and depends upon the particular formulation of the law or clause that grants the possibility.

In the United States, "freedom of panorama" exists only for buildings (17 USC 120). For photos of works of the visual arts (sculptures and statues, but also murals) there are no similar exemptions in the U.S. copyright law.

When taking a picture of a copyrighted building design or a visual art, attention must be paid not only to the license of the photograph itself, but that of the visual work being photographed. Reproducing a copyrighted work as a photograph may constitute the creation of a derivative work, which is usually allowed only by the copyright holder of the work. If local law allows for freedom of panorama for the particular item being photographed, a derivative work is not created, and the only copyright on the photo is that assigned by the photographer. For more information, including a country by country list of freedom of panorama laws, please see Commons:Freedom of panorama.

If you take a picture of a copyrighted item in a country where freedom of panorama exists and wish to use your photo on Wikipedia, be sure to note where the photo was taken and what the panorama freedom law of that locale states. You are encouraged to upload freely licensed photographs taken under freedom of panorama to Wikimedia Commons rather than to the English Wikipedia. Not only will this make your freely licensed photograph available to a wider scale of people on Wikipedias in multiple languages, but on Commons they have more experience dealing with freedom of panorama issues. The English Wikipedia usually applies U.S. law to image copyright issues, and since freedom of panorama is mostly restricted in the United States, this may cause an image which was properly taken under freedom of panorama to be deleted.

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