Australians could unknowingly break the law if they snap a picture of the most romantic landmark in the world at night.
Millions flock to Paris every year to stroll the romantic Parisian streets, devour croissants and snap as many Instagram-worthy images as possible.
The Eiffel Tower is at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to photos but an obscure clause in European copyright law means it can be a trap for tourists.
The twinkling lights against the night sky might be the most romantic image imaginable but taking and sharing it is fraught with danger.
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The twinkling lights against the night sky might be the most romantic image imaginable but taking a picture at this time is in fact illegal
Tourists scramble to Paris every year to stroll the romantic Parisian streets, devour croissants and snap as many Instagram-worthy images as possible
The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 but fell into public domain in 1993 meaning tourists can snap away liberally during the day.
But it is at night time when matters get complicated.
The stunning lights that illuminate the attraction at night were installed in 1985 and are technically an art work, so ‘reproducing’ requires the permission of the artist.
Works are protected under European copyright law for the lifetime of the artist, plus another 70 years.
While the designer of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, died in 1923, artist Pierre Bideau created the sparkling display across the tower and they are held as artistic work and are still protected under copyright law.
But it appears French authorities are not going to send you to guillotine if you can’t resist a romantic selfie.
Wannabe artists across the world have all tried to take creative snap of the Eiffel Tower over the years
No matter the time of day the iconic structure always has an air of romance about it, however, night time pictures have that extra sparkle
The Societe d’Exploitation de la tour Eiffel guidelines said only those using the nigh time image for commercial benefit should refrain.
‘The shots of the Eiffel tower at night for individuals and for private use do not require prior agreement,’ it said.
‘Whereas, professionals must imperatively get closer to our teams who will tell them the operating conditions of the images.’
The Eiffel Tower was created for the World’s Fair in 1889.
Other iconic structures created for World’s Fair include the Arc de Triumf in Barcelona – not to be confused with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
There is also the Seattle Space Needle, which was built in 1962 as a centre piece for the fair.