“ So an architectural photographer can spend days preparing and waiting for that picture that will embody the building’s nature and the designer’s ambition.”
I just saw this referenced the other day, and found it really interesting.
The tower and its representations have long been in the public domain. However, a French court ruled, in June 1990, that a special lighting display on the tower in 1989, for the tower’s 100th anniversary, was an “original visual creation” protected by copyright. The Court of Cassation, France’s judicial court of last resort, upheld the ruling in March 1992.The Société d’exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE) now considers any illumination of the tower to be under copyright. As a result, it is no longer legal to publish contemporary photographs of the tower at night without permission in France and some other countries.
The imposition of copyright has been controversial. The Director of Documentation for what was then the Société nouvelle d’exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SNTE), Stéphane Dieu, commented in January 2005, “It is really just a way to manage commercial use of the image, so that it isn’t used in ways we don’t approve.” However, it also potentially has the effect of prohibiting tourist photographs of the tower at night from being published, as well as hindering non-profit and semi-commercial publication of images of the tower. Besides, French doctrine and jurisprudence traditionally allow pictures incorporating a copyrighted work as long as their presence is incidental or accessory to the main represented subject, a reasoning akin to the De minimis rule. Thus, SETE could not claim copyright on photographs of panoramas of Paris incorporating the lit tower.