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Why can’t you take pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night?

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most photographed places on earth. There are a lot of beautiful sights in the capital of France (Paris), but absolutely every tourist dreams of visiting the very place where this magnificent building is located. Why can’t you take pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night? Can they be punished for this or not? Let’s analyze this issue in detail.

First, we will answer immediately and quickly: it is possible and necessary to photograph the tower before dark, but after that it is not. The main reason for this is European copyright law.

Any author of a work acquires the right to preserve the inviolability of the object developed by him. Moreover, the descendants of the author retain the right to use the photos of the object for any purpose for a very long time, but not any other person. For example: copyright law states that an object cannot be photographed for commercial purposes after the death of the author for 70 years (such a law works in Europe and France inclusive). In the same Venezuela – 60 years, in Jamaica – 95. Each state has its own legislative framework, but the requirements of the European Union will have to be fulfilled unambiguously.

Such a right as freedom of panorama is very important. The authorities cannot prohibit photographing a view of London, Paris or Madrid, even if some prohibited object falls on it. But you can not take a photo of the object separately.

In France, copyright law was changed in 2016. For example: now people can take pictures of copyrighted structures, but only for their own, not commercial purposes. If you have no desire to pay the architect a fine, it is better not to risk it.

What about the Eiffel Tower?

The tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel. He is the legal owner of the copyright. The architect died in 1923. He did not develop this structure on his own, but with the help of two people: Emile Nougier and Maurice Koechlin. But Eiffel honestly bought the copyright from them, so in fact he became the sole owner of those. In 1993, in France, the very moment came when every tourist could photograph the tower, even for their own commercial purposes, but only during the day! Why? In 1985, the tower was equipped with a special night lighting system. Hundreds of spotlights, tens of thousands of sweethearts – all this is a huge architectural project, which was also developed by a certain person. And today he is still alive, so the copyright belongs exclusively to him (and after death, this provision will be valid for another 70 years).

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