The Eiffel Tower at night – a copyright quirk

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Caroline Morley

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Copyright is a sticky issue. One of the most famous quirks of the copyright laws in France means that photographs of the Eiffel Tower at night (but not during the day) are in breach of the copyright of the designers of the light show on the tower.

There is an EU law which said that photos of architectural projects in public areas can be taken free of charge. But France chose not to enact this part of the copyright law so any building whose architect died less than 70 years ago, is still in copyright and cannot be photographed (apart from for personal use).

The video above is a great explainer as to what this means for photographers, videographers and image users.

And the Eiffel Tower conundrum? Well, Gustave Eiffel died in 1923 so his namesake tower became public domain seventy years later. But the lighting design was created in 1989 to mark the tower’s 100th anniversary so any photos or footage taken of the copyrighted work cannot be published without permission.

I am just thankful that the UK decided to opt-in to the “freedom of panorama” law.

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One response to “The Eiffel Tower at night – a copyright quirk”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Love the american quote on visiting the Eiffel tower

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