I thought you might all be interested in this judgement (read forwarded
email below) from Sweden regarding the copyright of public works of art.
Particularly this photograph
a public statue outside the Gothenburg museum. It seems as though, due to
a lack of freedom of panorama, Wikimedia SE was sued and subsequently
ordered to pay around US$78,000 for hosting images of public works of art
via Wikimedia Commons.
Fingers crossed we get Freedom of Panorama in South Africa soon following
the submission to Parliament.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mattias Blomgren <mattias.blomgren(a)wikimedia.se>
Date: 7 July 2017 at 20:41
Subject: [WM-Chairpersons] Judgment i BUS v. Wikimedia Sverige case
To: Internal mailing list for the Wikimedia's affiliations chairpersons <
I have to inform you that Wikimedia Sverige yesterday received the judgment
from the Swedish Patent and Market Court in our case against BUS
(Bildupphovsrätt i Sverige), an organisation representing artists. We
unfortunately lost the case and the court order reads as follows:
- The Patent and Market Court enjoins Wikimedia Sverige, under a penalty
of a fine of SEK 100 000, to - by communication to the public - make the
representations (pictures) in Exhibit 1-3 of the works available during the
remaining term of protection for the works.
- The Patent and Market Court declares that Wikimedia Sverige is obliged
to pay reasonable remuneration to Bildupphovsrätt i Sverige ek.för. with
respect to the communication to the public of the representations
(pictures) in Exhibit 1-3 via the website offentligkonst.se from
December 19, 2013 and compensation for any additional damage caused by the
- Wikimedia Sverige shall compensate Bildupphovsrätt i Sverige ek.för.
for litigation costs in an amount of SEK 647 759, whereof SEK 562 200 for
attorneys’ fees, together with interest in accordance with section 6 of the
Swedish interest act (1975:635) from today until payment is made.
The case has last since 2014, when we were sued by BUS, and in April 2016
the Swedish Supreme Court decided not in our favour, but the case was then
handed back to the Patent and Market Court for final court order. Our
lawyers have argued that the images don’t reside on our server
offentligkonst.se, but are linked from Wikimedia Commons. This is not
acceptable, according to the court.
We have now removed all links to images of public art where copyright still
remains, but have kept the images of art in public domain. The consequences
for Wikimedia Commons is not yet clear, and we have contact with Wikimedia
Foundation’s legal team, who are now awaiting a translation of the court’s
judgment (26 pages).
We have sent out a press release via various channels. We have started a
crowdfunding campaign in order to get money to pay the litigation costs and
remuneration to BUS according to the court order.
In the press release, we state that the problem with the judgment is that
it is not allowed to share images of public art, art which is placed in the
public space, in parks, squares and paid by the tax payers’ money. The
outcome is tragic, as the art is no longer as accessible and public as it
used to be. Our goal has been to give the art the visibility it deserves.
It is very strange that in a digitalized world it is not allowed to share
images digitally, if a public art can be seen on the image. Our opinion is
that the law must be changed.
We don’t see that the judgment will impact Wikimedia Sverige’s ordinary
projects, as they are funded via special project funding. As we have been
aware that the outcome of the case could be what we now have faced, we have
saved some money during the last years, but of course we need money from
our supporters for this case.
Link to our press release: https://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/wikimedia-sverige/
The image shows the most famous statue in Gothenburg outside the Gothenburg
museum of fine art, but now hidden in black. The original image can be
found on Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/
Link to the website offentligkonst.se
Chairman Wikimedia Sverige
Chairpersons mailing list
Douglas Ian Scott
South African mobile number: +27 (0)79 515 8727