Intellectual Property Law

New Matter WINTER 2016, Volume 41, Number 4

IP and Art: An International Perspective

CRISTINA MANASSE Manasse Studio Legale, Milan


YOUR CLIENT WANTS TO USE PHOTOS OR VIDEOS of the Pyramid at the Louvre, the "Atomium" in Belgium or even the lightshow of the Eiffel Tower. Be careful: Using photos or videos of these and other iconic European architectural and other cultural symbols could result in a copyright infringement claim.1

In simple terms, under European law, "public art" is subject to copyright protection, unless a European Union member state has adopted an exception – which then means that copyright protection for such works under that country’s laws might not be as extensive as protection for other works. Therein lies a conflict between what is perceived to be authors’ rights and the rights of users of images of such public art and, at a more political level, a conflict between harmonizing all laws across the EU and giving member states more freedom with their own laws.

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