Why is the Eiffel Tower uglier?

by on February 8, 2005 at 4:39 am in Law | Permalink

The Eiffel Tower is uglier than ever before; it now has new and garish flashing strobe lights.  And why?

The Eiffel Tower’s likeness had long since been part of the public domain, when in 2003, it was abruptly repossessed by the city of Paris. That’s the year that the SNTE, the company charged with maintaining the tower, adorned it with a distinctive lighting display, copyrighted the design, and in one feel swoop, reclaimed the nighttime image and likeness of the most popular monument on earth. In short: they changed the actual likeness of the tower, and then copyrighted that.

As a result, it’s no longer legal to publish current photographs of the Eiffel Tower at night without permission.

Here is the story.  Here is my previous post on why the French take copyright so seriously.  We can’t blame it all on the French, however, "the cloud" a publicly owned  artwork in Chicago’s Millenium Park is also copyrighted and apparently protected from photographs by security guards.

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