Wardynski & Partners
Space for infringements? The right of panorama in the world of game
Why is it permissible to freely use images of nature, but it is not so straightforward to use monuments or buildings? Is there a legal difference between the image of the Eiffel Tower by day and by night? Why so much fuss about that Katy Perry song and PGE Narodowy? How can the freedom of panorama be legally exploited, and where are its limits? Does freedom of panorama extend to f.ex. graffiti? What cannot be included in a video game? These are some of the legal challenges to be tackled.
In computer games and apps, the use of images of nature is uncontroversial in terms of copyright i.e. a developer can capture a specific landscape and use it freely. But the use of architectural structures is problematic, because they are generally regarded as “works” protected by copyright – in principle a copyrightable work cannot be freely used during the life of the author and 70 years after his death (i.e. it cannot be used without author’s consent). Fortunately, there are some exceptions to this rule. Furthermore, there is no universal “freedom of panorama” – as with most IP rights the scope of the freedom of panorama depends on the jurisdiction. A mosaic of laws adds to confusion, because some jurisdiction award freedom of panorama for non-commercial purposes, whereas some do not provide for freedom of panorama at all.
In the presentation we explore different angles to the freedom of panorama i.e. the circumstances that allow free use of buildings or sculptures in video games, differences between jurisdictions and consequences of territorial scope of IP rights. Also, we discuss whether landmark buildings that are protected by trademarks can be freely used in video games and whether a building can have an image (PL: wizerunek) and if so, who does it belong to.