File this under Weird Things I Never Knew: apparently, images of the Eiffel Tower illuminated at night are copyrighted. From the official website:
Q: Are you allowed to publish photos of the Eiffel Tower?
A: The views from the Eiffel Tower are rights-free. Permission and rights must be obtained from the “Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel” (the Operating Company, or SETE) for the publication of photos of the illuminated Eiffel Tower.
In the early 2000s, when the lights were added to the tower (the really pretty blinky ones that go off every half hour at night), the SETE was able to claim copyright over the tower, despite it being public domain, because they had modified it. Imagine if someone strapped lights onto the Mona Lisa and then asking you to pay money to publish pictures of it when lit. According to the website, “The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, falls within the public domain. Daytime views from the Eiffel Tower are rights-free. However, its various illuminations are subject to author’s rights as well as brand rights. Usage of these images is subject to prior request from the “Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel” (the Eiffel Tower’s operating company, or SETE).”
Strange! The copyright seems to only extend to publication for commercial use. Personal use (like posting photos on your blog) is fine. But it begs the question: how do they monitor it? And what about the, and this is a low-ball estimation, several million photographs, paintings, likenesses out there of the Eiffel Tower at night people sell? How can you copyright the Eiffel Tower?!
What are you up to this weekend? We’re spending the weekend with Jamal’s parents, and since they live so close to New York, I’ll be sneaking off to the city to meet this girl in person (finally!) while she’s in town visiting. To say I am excited is an understatement!