This motion was adopted unanimously at the CEPIC Annual General Meeting on 04.06.2019
The SNAPIG (National Union of Photographic Agencies of General Illustration), French national association member of our coordination, has brought to CEPIC’s knowledge the project envisaged by major French museums to start “Open Access” for the high-definition photographic reproductions of their collections.
This case illustrates an approach that tends to spread at the European level, aroused and reinforced by a particularly active lobbying of GAFAM opposed to copyright by all means, under the pretext of misleading cultural dissemination for all.
The direct economic and social repercussions of such upheavals would be particularly penalizing for the ecosystem of photographic agencies all over Europe:
- Significant drop in turnover resulting in a risk of closure
- Reductions or even suppression of the staff guaranteeing the best possible diffusion of an image by bringing knowledge and know-how (documentary, technical and commercial services)
– Reduction of the amount of the rights paid to the photographers represented
- Disorganization of inter-agency distribution networks worldwide
Some collateral effects are also to be taken into account:
- Loss of revenue from museums under contract with photographic agencies
- Unfair competition and distortion of competition from museums with agencies
Beyond the socio-economic aspect, the diffusion of works in Open Access poses other problems of patrimonial and cultural order:
- Disappearance of the transmission of certified information:
Irreparable losses of the metadata of the files, which are not preserved on the various social networks and search engines.
Depletion of the visual offer:
- Reduction or disappearance of the visibility of iconographic funds not subject to free access caused by the economic weakening of their broadcasters.
- Loss of editorial diversity through the privileged use of free documents.
Legal Insecurity & Copyright:
- Legal uncertainty of many photographic collections whose mention of the source will have disappeared.
- Destruction of the copyright which nourishes, nevertheless, in a major way the vitality of the creation and allows the real cultural and democratic widening, by empowering each user.
A loss of a heritage culture to the benefit of GAFAM:
The referencing by Wikimedia of the funds in Open Access of the museums will reinforce, once again and thanks to the diffusion of the free contents, the hegemony of the traffic of Google Images.
CEPIC wishes to emphasize this paradox, at a time when the integrity of information is threatened due to the proliferation of uncontrolled information, how can we approve the provision of images that will proliferate without source or legend in the name of Culture and whose main beneficiaries will be the giants of the Net?
CEPIC’s position is supported by many representative European and national professional organizations.