Why Taking a Picture of Roma-Termini is Illegal

We have all heard about copyright at least once in our life; it is the right creators have over their work regarding its sale and distribution throughout their lifetime and for a set number of years after they pass away (in the European Union, and most of the world, the time is 70 years). While most of us are aware that artworks such as paintings, music, television shows, etc.. are under copyright, many of us aren’t aware that famous buildings and monuments are considered to be artistic works as well, such as the London Eye and the Eiffel tower.

In many countries, there is the Freedom of Panorama, which allows anyone to take pictures and videos of or even draw any buildings and monuments existing in a public space. Countries which allow people to enjoy the Freedom of Panorama include Germany and England, therefore even though the London Eye is a copyrighted work, and therefore you cannot replicate it, it is allowed to take pictures of it.

Of course, not all countries allow this. Most notably, Italy and France do not have a Freedom of Panorama. While Gustave Eiffel, the person who owns the copyright for the Eiffel tower, died well over 70 years ago, the lights on the Eiffel tower were only put up 33 years ago, in 1985. Therefore, it is fully legal to take pictures of the Eiffel tower for commercial use during the day, it is even legal to make an exact replica of it. However, it is definitely illegal to take pictures of it with the intents of distributing the pictures for profit at nighttime, when the lights are showing. Another example of a building under copyright is Roma-Termini, the central station in Rome. It only became legal to take pictures of these monuments for personal use in 2016.

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