Why It's Illegal to Snap a Photo of the Eiffel Tower at Night

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So, here's something not quite new or shocking among Parisians, but a head-scratcher for all the people in the world. Apparently, the Eiffel Tower's been copyrighted when the lights are up in the night sky.

No, this doesn't mean you can't take an image of the Tower at all -- you just can't exercise your "freedom of panorama" at night.

That said, it's illegal to shoot photos and videos of the tower at night.

A blurb from Metro News:

"Technically taking the picture is also illegal, but it’s the sharing part that will land you in hot water. If you want to publish the image to social media you must gain permission from the ‘Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel’ (the Eiffel Tower’s operating company)."

You have probably noticed already the lack of Eiffel Tower night shots in stock sites, and it's because the European Union copyright law protects an artistic work (could be in the form of a photo, video, song, or building) during the life of the artist, plus 70 years more.

Yes, the Tower's been erected long ago, and has entered the public domain in 1993... but the lights at night weren't installed until 1985, which is still considered artistic work.

Allow this video to explain further the reasons of this unique law.


Preview image was taken from the video.

2017-10-24 #culture #videos #panorama #photography #eiffel-tower

7 Comments

  1. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    This ban is a shame

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    Nonsensical, especially because the lights have changed a lot through years!

  3. flamingoid
    flamingoid ·

    It's a law that's probably never been enforced. It's just there to prevent commercial use of the Eiffel Tower at night. Everyone, tourists and locals, can photograph the Eiffel Tower, even in front of a policeman. No one will bring you to prison. However, companies cannot use it without permission as the cover of a guide book or the cover of a music album. There's also a law in Paris prohibiting women from wearing pants unless they are riding a horse but no one even knows it's still technically illegal.

  4. tretti
    tretti ·

    Dear writer: france is in the european union and thats not how copyright functions at all! A copyright in our union can never ever prohibit you from taking a picture on a public space. What it can do is prohibit you from usinf the picture commercially or publicly sharing it.

  5. cabreb
    cabreb ·

    @tretti exactly! This article tells a partial truth: the monument can be photographed even at night if the picture is for personal use. You can't earn money or use the picture in a professional context. That's it :)

  6. dopa
    dopa ·

    Everytime this topic comes up, ppl get ist wrong. To clear things up: Of cause it is not illegal to take pictures of the Eiffel tower at night. You can’t publish them, that is something different. The light installation by Pierre Bideau is a piece of art and as such this it is as protected as every other. You are not allowed to publish songs by others, or use pictures by others, so of cause this work is protected, too. When you’d show someone a picture of this light installation, do you show your work, or his? But again, it is absolutely fine to shoot the tower at night and show your vacation pictures to your friends. So, no reason to worry at all. To get another point straight: That is French law, not EU law. In many other countries of the EU there is freedom of panorama given. So, feel free to shoot the Brandenburger Tor at night and publish it where ever you want 😉

  7. dopa
    dopa ·

    Everytime this topic comes up, ppl get ist wrong. To clear things up: Of cause it is not illegal to take pictures of the Eiffel tower at night. You can’t publish them, that is something different. The light installation by Pierre Bideau is a piece of art and as such this it is as protected as every other. You are not allowed to publish songs by others, or use pictures by others, so of cause this work is protected, too. When you’d show someone a picture of this light installation, do you show your work, or his? But again, it is absolutely fine to shoot the tower at night and show your vacation pictures to your friends. So, no reason to worry at all. To get another point straight: That is French law, not EU law. In many other countries of the EU there is freedom of panorama given. So, feel free to shoot the Brandenburger Tor at night and publish it where ever you want 😉

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