Picture this, you’re in Paris wandering by the Eiffel Tower at night. Noticing how gorgeous the iconic landmark is when lit up, you snap a picture when all of a sudden the feds roll in arresting you on the spot.
Fact or fiction?
Well, fiction obviously, unless I’ve got some terrifying prophetic insight into the lives of our readers I never knew about or indeed wanted.
However, it turns out taking photos of the Eiffel Tower at night genuinely is illegal – flights of fancy aside.
Yeah, you read that right, according to Snopes despite there being hundreds of exactly the same photo being shared on Instagram, Facebook, Bebo, Myspace or whatever, distributing photos of the tower is in violation of copyright.
The company which owns and operates the tower, Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, even list on their website that to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower when illuminated you need permission.
They do however say you can take photos of the top for free which is rather magnanimous of them.
The lights were added in 1985 and are still technically owned by the artist and that’s why you can’t reproduce the image, although you can take pictures of the tower at night when the lights are off.
Or alternatively, you could just wait until the day when the Eiffel Tower is in the public domain, which means you can snap as many pictures as you want without fear of the French fuzz arresting you for the crime of breaching intellectual property rights.
Despite the law, no one has ever been prosecuted for posting pictures on social media, although who knows maybe you could be the first…