Sweden’s Recent Copyright Ruling Could Impact the Sharing of Images Online

The highest court of Sweden ruled yesterday that tourists may take pictures of art in public spaces but that the posting of these images to Wikimedia Sverige (translated as Wikimedia Sweden) violates the copyright of the artists. You can read the full statement of the Court and the decision on the Court’s website (in Swedish). According to The Guardian:

The Visual Copyright Society in Sweden (BUS), which represents painters, photographers, illustrators and designers among others, had sued Wikimedia Sweden for making photographs of their artwork displayed in public places available in its database, without their consent.
The Supreme Court found in favour of BUS, arguing that while individuals were permitted to photograph artwork on display in public spaces, it was “an entirely different matter” to make the photographs available in a database for free and unlimited use.
“Such a database can be assumed to have a commercial value that is not insignificant. The court finds that the artists are entitled to that value,” it wrote in a statement.

The damages owed by Wikimedia Sweden have not yet been decided. You can read the Wikimedia Foundation’s full response to the ruling on their blog.