Topic: The Law
Web Notes: Trademark and Public Domain Issues with the Eiffel Tower
I do not suppose this will effect any of us with websites – unless our sites make a whole lot of profit (unlikely) – but if we take a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night there now is a licensing fee to post it. The item below notes that tourists posting to their own websites will not be targeted. But one wonders if Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, once he gets a gazillion readers and is rolling in Euros, will need to kick some money back to the office of Jean-Bernard Bros, SNTE president and deputy mayor of Paris for tourism. The thing is, after all, a monument situated in the public domain. But… .
Ah heck, I haven’t yet read up on night shooting with my new Nikon D70 and the tripod is still in the box. I’ll worry about it later.
But there was this in the news this week -
Eiffel Tower a Different Story by Night
Mikael G. Holter, Associated Press - Tuesday April 26, 3:45 PM ET
Here’s the scoop -
Well, drat! The AP items goes on to note that other monuments in Paris - the Pantheon and the Arc de Triomphe - are free of rights. And this is according to Paris City Hall and the Center for National Monuments, the public body that manages French landmarks. Day or night. It doesn’t matter there. And it seems the SNTE admits that of the eight million dollars in profit that the tower turned last year, only a small part - $69,276 to be precise - came from payment of rights for commercial use of the image. So what’s the big deal?
Stephane Dieu of the SNTE says they handle about a thousand of these trademark cases, and about ten percent of those end with in the bad guys paying up. Why bother?
A little trademark history to help explain -
Well, one can see that point – but they put the thing right out there in the open!
But then the AP quotes a French communications lawyer who thinks this is silly, one Gerard Ducrey - "Without the monument, the lighting couldn't exist. It seems paradoxical to me that by this addition one can decide that a monument situated in the public domain be appropriated in a privative way."
But Jean-Bernard Bros, who is SNTE president and deputy mayor of Paris for tourism, is quoted as saying the lighting trademark "has helped protect the tower in a changing media environment." He seems to have been upset when a website advertising the services of ladies of the night, so to speak, showed the ladies and the tower in the same shot. He won that case - or rather, he threatened legal action and the other party backed off.
French Puritanism? Perhaps.
Rick, The News Guy in Atlanta, and editor and publisher of City-Directory Atlanta, is not impressed –
And Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, being there, has the definitive word –
And here is Ric’s photo of the tower being used for a promotion. He’s in trouble? I’m in trouble?
No, it’s a daylight shot.