Why Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night are Illegal

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Why Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night are Illegal

Why Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night are Illegal


This video was made possible by Squarespace. Build your website for 10% off over at squarespace.com/HAI. If you recreationally browse stock footage
sites like me, you might have noticed something—you can almost never find videos of the Eiffel
Tower at night, and there’s a good reason for that. They’re illegal. This video, fully legal. This one… well I can’t show it to you because it’s
100% unequivocally illegal. It all has to do with a bit of a quirk in
French copyright law. But first, a copyright law crash course. Wait a minute, is that copyrighted? Well their logo is at least, and their thumbnails
too, and banner… gahhh sorry Green Brothers, blame the animator. Copyright law basically gives the original
creator of a thing exclusive rights to its sale and distribution for as long as they
live plus a certain amount of time. In Pakistan it’s 50 years, in Venezuela
it’s 60, in Jamaica it’s 95, but in all of of these countries it’s 70. That includes the European Union which, with
copyright law, more or less operates as one country. One of the major exceptions to EU copyright
law is the freedom of Panorama. Basically, I can legally show you this view
of the London skyline even though there are plenty of copyrighted things in this view. For the purposes of copyright, buildings are
classified as artistic works. These buildings have the exact same protections
as a movie, a song, or this very YouTube video. You can’t just go and build an exact replica
of the London Eye without paying the original architects, but you can take a video of it
because of that Freedom of Panorama. Essentially, anything you see outside in public
in the UK and much of the European Union can be filmed, reproduced, and sold, but there
are exceptions—most notably, France. The European Union allows its members to not
have a Freedom of Panorama clause in their copyright laws so France doesn’t have one. As of 2016 you are allowed to take images
and videos of copyrighted buildings for personal use, but any commercial use is copyright violation. That means showing this video is risky—I’ll
have to blur out this, this, this, this, this, this, and this. These blurred buildings were all probably
designed by architects that are either alive or died within the last 70 years so they still
are copyrighted and the architects could sue me if I had shown them since this video is
commercial use. So back to the Eiffel Tower which according
to this Google reviewer is “too windy,” and “if it were American we would stop all
the wind.” Knowing what we now know, the real question
is, why is it even legal to show the Eiffel tower during the day. Well, it’s very old. Gustave Eiffel actually didn’t design the
Eiffel tower. He bought the designs from the Stephen Sauvestre
who’s employees, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier actually designed the tower. Nonetheless, when Eiffel bought the design
he bought the copyright too, but then he died in 1923. 70 years after that, in 1993, the copyright
lapsed, just like with any other artistic work. So, the Eiffel Tower, its likeness, its design,
everything is in the public domain. All those Eiffel Tower replicas sold on the
streets of Paris are actually, surprisingly, fully legal. However, the lights on the Eiffel Tower weren’t
installed until 1985, therefore, since they’re considered an artistic work, they are well
within their copyright term. For this reason, any photo taken at night
when the lights are visible is an illegal reproduction of a copyrighted work. The Eiffel tower isn’t the only example of
this. I can’t show you the pyramid of the Louvre,
the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, or even the main train station in Rome. In reality the Eiffel Tower’s copyright
has never been enforced in court, but at any moment that could change and you could you
to jail for your holiday photo. If you’re looking for a way to set up an
illegal black market stock photo site for European landmarks then please don’t use
Squarespace because I’m sure I’d get an angry email. If you’re looking for a website for anything
else, though, you definitely should use Squarespace. You’ve probably heard their pitch before—beautiful
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100 thoughts on Why Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night are Illegal

  1. To clarify, just because you can find an image on Google doesn't mean it's legal. This law is very loosly enforced but still is a law.

  2. It's unfortunate in my humble opinion that France doesn't permit freedom of panorama for photography and video. Amending the law in 2016 to permit non-commercial uses was a step in the right direction, but that still leaves a huge grey area in the age of commercial social media platforms, monetized videos, ad supported blogs and so forth. It's nice to be able to legally snap a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night for one's photo album, but unfortunately, it still seems to be illegal to shoot a vlogging video showing the nighttime lighting display on the Tower and upload it to a monetized YouTube channel. Although the video said that nobody has thus far gone to jail over public photography and videos, one has to be concerned about the possibility of selective enforcement. For example, if a video of a "Yellow Vest" protest emerges that the French government doesn't like, they would have grounds to prosecute the person who shot the footage for copyright infringement if it incidentally happens to feature a copyrighted building or publicly visible work of art in the background.

  3. I’ll be on my 4th visit and always getting great pics of Le Tour d’Eiffel from Le Ciel de Paris at night
    No worries 😉

  4. Just watching this when we're in Paris and my brother took a photo of the Eifell tower at night, yesterday

  5. Further proof that the French are deranged. What’s even more deranged is your assertion someone might go to priz for copyright violation. Plus it’s only enforceable within the boundaries of France!

  6. Things you mentioned that you can't show them in video , i just saw all of them on YouTube …. people literally don't care dude 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  7. The copyright thing is insane, yea, I know it's important that when you create video, artwork or statue and it's cannot be reproduced by your permission, but now taking photos of world famous object at nightis illegal just because it got lights installed, sometimes laws just make situation where you are tazed and cannot move. They suck, Article 13 is shit.

  8. stray kids hyunjin jisung and jeongin took a picture of the eiffel tower at night u may see it at their ig posts

  9. Riddle me this…

    Paris, Tennessee has an Eiffel Tower

    Las Vegas has one

    Does anyone know if the replicas have a different illumination scheme?

  10. So basically the European Union is that strict mom who won’t let her kids do anything for “their safety”

  11. but Civil War promo with RDJ managed to use The Eifell Tower, they lit it up with a different light

  12. Half as Interesting
    I wonder how the amusement park “Kings Island” right outside of Cincinnati was able to erect a 1/3 size Eiffel Tower. It’s massive so I can only imagine how large the real one must be.

  13. Is it me or that's such a bull rule. I'm an engineer who design a lot of building and the last thing I wish for is for my work that I'm proud of to be unable to spread on the internet it's like a publicity enabling me to have more client as well as the architect who designed it.

  14. Apparently now it is like the first result on google, and a bunch of videos on youtube. quite easy. did they lift this law or smth?

  15. Unless you want to use it in a movie, you're probably safe. We don't sue anyone for anything. You're coffee is too hot in a McDonald and you burnt your lips, well too bad for you that's actually natural selection. In France McDonald doesn't sell cold coffee.

  16. I once bought a bag of Eiffel Tower At Night photos from my dealer, but he'd cut it with Eiffel Tower During The Day photos, the cheap bastard.

  17. Well I’m in France and was going to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower tonight I guess I’m not doing that any more and post it onto the internet

  18. Yes. And a some random product, like a certain desk, is also a work of art (artistic work). If the designer of that desk is still alive, or if the desk is less than 70 years old, it means that photographing that desk without the designer's permission is illegal and violates copyright law. I'm not joking. Most copyright crimes, such as clothing shown in photographs, are most often viewed through the fingers. After then when cameras became more common these crimes would result in too much paperwork otherwise. Today, every person owns at least one camera and anyway fining of everyone for the every photo what they have ever shoot would be too laborious.

  19. This is absurd. Anything freely visable in public cannot possibly be private. If I can walk down a public street, look right/left/up/down and see it, then it is public. Screw the french.

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