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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 customizable templates, 24/7 award winning
customer support , build in search engine optimization—but what you might not realize
is that you can try all of this for free without even giving your credit card info so you can
see what all the hype is about.
You can get that free trial over at squarespace.com/hai and then when you do decide to buy you'll
get 10% off your order.
They make this show possible so please go at least check them out over at squarespace.com/HAI.
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Why Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night are Illegal

409 Folder Collection
Samuel published on August 28, 2018
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