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  • If you recreationally browse stock footage sites like me, you might have noticed somethingyou

  • 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 bannergahhh 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 exceptionsmost 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 istoo windy,”

  • andif 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.

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Why Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night are Illegal

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    Samuel posted on 2018/08/29
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