The Eiffel Tower: it is, without a doubt, one of the most recognizable monuments on the planet—and for good reason. That tower is just, plain breathtaking!

Now, if you have ever been lucky enough to travel to Paris, then you know that, while it sure is impressive to look at during the day, at night it transforms into an even more spectacular attraction.

For starters, the Eiffel Tower isn’t simply adorned with a few Christmas lights; the landmark is actually covered in tens of thousands of high-powered bulbs and a whopping 336 projectors. Every single night, tourists and Parisians alike are treated to a spectacular light show that focuses right on Paris’ most beloved piece of architecture—and boy is it picture-worthy.

Sounds pretty cool, huh? We would include a picture for you to “oooh” and “ahhhh” at, but we’re not too keen on breaking the law! Confused yet? Here’s the deal…

According to the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, the monument actually features an element that is copyrighted, which makes it so that any unauthorized shots are illegal to distribute.

Now, here’s where it gets really confusing: it’s completely legal to snap away during the day because it’s the tower’s LIGHT SHOW that is copyrighted, not anything else.

This is what the Société has to say about the issue:

The views from the Eiffel Tower are rights-free. Permission and rights must be obtained from the Société de l’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel for the publication of photographs of the illuminated Eiffel Tower.

Well, we guess it’s good to know that at least the VIEWS are “rights free!”

The cost of snapping an Eiffel Tower selfie at night

So, what will happen to you if you post that bucket list Instagram shot of you cheesing it up in front of one of the world’s most famous monuments? Well, pretty much nothing.

As it turns out, since the copyrighted light show was first added to the Eiffel Tower back in 1985, not one person—or company for that matter—has ever gotten in trouble for “distributing” the artist’s content.

The way we see it, this particular copyright law is just a TAD different than, say, one that would be attached to a song, for instance.

It’s pretty much a case of “Everybody’s breaking the law, so we may as well do it, too”. It’s the jay-walking of crimes, if you will. Just don’t tell the French authorities that when they grab your phone out of your hands and arrest you for copyright infringement. Sacré bleu!

To learn even more about the Eiffel Tower’s bizarre copyright law, be sure to watch the video below. You MAY even get the chance to see an image of the famous landmark at night, in its brightest glory. Just keep it between us, OK?

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this odd law. Have you ever taken a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night? If so, did you suffer any repercussions? Do you know of any other strange laws that you would like to share?