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Copyright related to Taking Photos of Building

November 14th, 2007 · 6 Comments

80px-eiffel_tower_from_champ_de_mars.jpg Have you been to Paris? the most romantic city in the world. If yes, then you must have visited Eiffel Tower. (Just like if you come to Kuala Lumpur, you must have visited KL Tower or KLCC).

Do you know that actually it is prohibited to take photograph of Eiffel Tower at night?

Based on the official website of Eiffel Tower:

There are no restrictions on publishing a picture of the (Eiffel) Tower by day. Photos taken at night when the lights are aglow are subjected to copyright laws, and fees for the right to publish must be paid to the SETE.”

You must be curious why you are allowed to take picture of the Tower at day time but not night time. In fact, the key differentiate factor is the lighting that shows at night which is subject to copyright laws.

You may ask further why is the publishing of lights subject to copyright laws but not the Tower or the building itself? The rationale behind is that, though the Tower is also an artistic work, but it has been long in public domain, hence, no one is entitled to claim for any proprietary interest to it.

Many countries, in fact, have explicitly permits the publication of photographs of copyrighted architecture in public spaces, e.g. US, Irleand, German and others.

Under Copyright Act 1987, if you read sections 3 & 7 together, it seems that the works of architecture in the form of buildings and models is eligible to be copyrighted. However, section 13(2) of the Act states that “the right of control …does not include the right to control – ”

“(c) the inclusion in a film or broadcast of any artistic work situated in a place where it can be viewed by public;

(d) the reproduction or distribution of copies of any artistic work permenantly situated in a place where it can be viewed by the public”

kl-tower.jpg As such, does this mean that you don’t need to obtain permission from the owner of KL Tower before you can publish the photographs of KL Tower? or Does KL Tower’s management stipulate the similar ruling like Eiffel Tower?


Tags: Malaysian Cyber Law

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jessica // Nov 15, 2007 at 4:46 am

    How bout the irritating pop-up advertisement in the internet? Any infringement under malaysia law?

  • 2 Eddie Law // Nov 16, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Hi Jessica,

    I assume the pop-up ad that you refer to is when we are serving certain websites and after we click at certain link then an ad pop-up which we never expect it to.

    In this case, I believe so far there is no laws in Malaysia governing this sort of “uninvited ads”.

    Or if any one comes across any update of the laws please do share with us.

  • 3 kitkat // Nov 17, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    To get a nightshot of Eiffel Tower, just take a day shot, then use photoshop to change the hue, brightness etc :)

  • 4 yogi // Nov 19, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    wow… this sounds very strict! I dunno how they implement such a law. u can take a shot from anywhere… inside another building, from a passing car …etc How do they expect to catch you???

  • 5 lolz // Jun 25, 2008 at 11:50 am

    good lolz…

  • 6 Alvin // Aug 21, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Its not that strict actually. If you take the photo at night and keep it for your own personal viewings, you will have the defence of fair private use.

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