Copyright and the Eiffel Tower

by Stephan Kinsella on December 15, 2010

From the Eiffel Tower website:

Q : Are we allowed to publish photos of the Eiffel Tower?
A : There are no restrictions on publishing a picture of the Tower by day. Photos taken at night when the lights are aglow are subjected to copyright laws, and fees for the right to publish must be paid to the SETE.

Learn about the conditions and terms when using an image of the Eiffel Tower when lighted.

(h/t Samuel Hora)

Update:

From  patent lawyer friend:

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_in_architecture_in_the_United_States

The short answer is that architectural designs are copyrightable because the law says they are.  There are several interesting cases where home builders infringed blue prints on houses and so had to bulldoze the infringing houses.

The Eiffel Tower—the structure itself—probably would have been subject to copyright.   They would have to argue that the placement of the lighting was itself a second architectural work by virtue of the defining relation of the structure and therefore subject to copyright.

See also:

§ [8][d][ii]-Injunction
Permanent injunctive relief has not been awarded to halt a construction project which is
in progress or has been completed. [n276] A preliminary injunction, however, has been
issued halting construction until the defendant obtained noninfringing plans. [n277] And
in another case the court issued a preliminary injunction, but it was limited to
construction of any additional unstarted buildings using the infringing plans. [n278] The
*72 defendant can be ordered to destroy or to deliver up [n279] any infringing copies of
copyrighted plans. In one case the court ordered infringing plans to be delivered up to
the plaintiff, but allowed each innocent client of the defendants to keep one infringing set
of plans for use in any future renovation of the building. [n280] If construction is already
completed, the plaintiff should be granted an injunction against any further use of the
infringing plans. [n281]
§

[n276] Edgar H. Wood Assoc., Inc. v. Skene, 197 N.E.2d 886 (Mass. 1964); Demetriades
v. Kaufmann, 680 F. Supp. 658, 6 U.S.P.Q.2d 1737 (S.D.N.Y. 1988), subsequent
proceedings, 8 U.S.P.Q.2d 1130 (S.D.N.Y. 1988), subsequent proceedings, 8 U.S.P.Q.2d
1917 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
In Joseph J. Legat Architects, P.C. v. U.S. Dev. Corp., 229 U.S.P.Q. 132, 138-41 (N.D.
Ill. 1985), the court refused to interfere with the client’s use of the plans for which it had
contracted but not fully paid because of a contract dispute, despite its holding that it is an
infringement of the architect’s copyright for the client to file the plans with the local
building authorities under the name of another architect.
[n277] Herman Frankel Org. v. Wolfe, 367 F. Supp. 1067, 184 U.S.P.Q. 819 (E.D. Mich.
1974); Demetriades v. Kaufmann, 680 F. Supp. 658, 6 U.S.P.Q.2d 1737 (S.D.N.Y. 1988),
subsequent proceedings, 8 U.S.P.Q.2d 1130 (S.D.N.Y. 1988), subsequent proceedings, 8
U.S.P.Q.2d 1917 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
[n278] Associated Hosts of Cal., Inc. v. Moss, 207 U.S.P.Q. 973 (W.D.N.C. 1979).
See also Jones Assocs., Inc. v. Nino Homes, 686 F. Supp. 160, 4 U.S.P.Q.2d 1391, 1395
(E.D. Mich. 1987) (permanent injunction) (semble), aff’d in part, rev’d in part on other
grounds, 858 F.2d 274, 8 U.S.P.Q.2d 1224 (6th Cir. 1988).
[n279] 17 U.S.C. § 503(b).
Jones Assocs., Inc. v. Nino Homes, 686 F. Supp. 160, 4 U.S.P.Q.2d 1391, 1395 (E.D.
Mich. 1987), aff’d in part, rev’d in part on other grounds, 858 F.2d 274, 8 U.S.P.Q.2d
1224 (6th Cir. 1988); Demetriades v. Kaufmann, 680 F. Supp. 658, 6 U.S.P.Q.2d 1737
(S.D.N.Y. 1988) (all copies in the defendants’ possession), subsequent proceedings, 8
U.S.P.Q.2d 1130, 1135 (S.D.N.Y. 1988) (recognizing that copies which defendants had
filed with the local building authorities might not be recoverable by defendants),
subsequent proceedings, 8 U.S.P.Q.2d 1917, 1920-21 n.2 (S.D.N.Y. 1988) (local building
authorities voluntarily yielded remaining copies of plans for impoundment, with minor
exceptions).

[n280] Schuchart & Assocs., Professional Eng’rs, Inc. v. Solo Serve Corp., 220 U.S.P.Q.
170, 186 (W.D. Tex. 1983).
[n281] Kent v. Revere, 229 U.S.P.Q. 828, 833 (M.D. Fla. 1985).

And of course, Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is centered around an act of IP terrorism based on the idea of intellectual property in architectural designs. Is it any wonder modern-day Randians think it’s okay to bomb the mosque in New York?

See also Schuchart And Associates v Solo Serve Corp.

As Roderick Long told me:

The irony is that the Eiffel Tower, thanks to the visibility of its internal structure, has been hailed as an example of “open” architecture appropriate to a free, open, democratic, anti-censorship society.

To redeem the honour of the French, check out this quotation from Victor Hugo:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shakespeare_(essay)

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