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Reproduction rights of the Eiffel Tower, in 1887


Do you know that it is illegal to take a picture of yourself in front of the glittering Eiffel Tower? And yes, the twinkle of the Eiffel Tower, which goes off every hour of the night at 1am, on the hour and for 10 minutes is a work of art and as such it is subject copyright.

It is therefore necessary to ask permission from the author before being able to take a picture of it or, in this case, to film it. Of course no individual does it but it is something that must be taken into account for professionals for example.


But do we have the right to reproduce the Eiffel Tower itself without permission? The answer is yes, and this question was the subject of a lawsuit between Gustave Eiffel and Mr. Jules Jaluzot. The response of the court went in favor of a general authorization of reproduction without limitation. Here, below, this episode of the history of the Eiffel Tower.


The initial contract for the sale of objects

By a treaty dated November 22, 1887, Mr. Eiffel had undertaken to deliver to the Society of Spring Stores, Mr. Jules Jaluzot, later became deputy of the Nièvre, all the falls, trimmings and knockouts of metal to come from the construction of the Tower. This waste was to be paid at fixed price, whatever the nature of the metal, from 8 francs to 100 kilograms. The new materials that could be requested by Mr Jules Jaluzot to Mr. Eiffel were to be sold at the price of nine. These wastes or new materials were to be used to make fancy objects of any kind that could reproduce all the designs of the Tower and to be sold with the special mention that the said objects were made with the metal of the Eiffel Tower.

In addition to the sale price of materials, Gustave Eiffel still had a 25% interest in the price of manufacturing, plus 10%, even though the items would be sold below this price. Messrs. Jules Jaluzot and Co. had the right to take the name of Exclusive Dealers materials from the Eiffel Tower. The idea of crafting trinkets with the trimmings of the Eiffel Tower was obviously intelligent. It met the needs of universal curiosity and it had to be rewarding for both parties.


Manufacturers' protests

But on all sides lively protests arose; the small Parisian and French industry had, for its part, built up huge hopes for gains in the manufacture of objects representing the Eiffel Tower. She found herself disappointed when she learned of the existence of the monopoly granted to Mr Jules Jaluzot, and, following the claims with which he was submerged, Mr Eiffel sent the following letter to his concessionaire:


Paris, 26 février 1889.

MM. Jules Jaluzot et Cie, Messieurs,

I can not remain indifferent to the complaints raised at this moment by the Parisian trade concerning the reproduction right of the Tower. I am assured that my legal right exists, since the model was filed in 1885 in the Commercial Court and that, well before my treaty with the State and the city, I had made sure this property.

But, as I now know with certainty that a large number of manufacturers, big or small, have founded hopes for the success of my work for the 1889 Exhibition, I do not think I would be grateful to them. and to the people of Paris, who did not spare me his sympathies, if I did not propose the outright termination of our contract with regard to the reproduction right of the Tower.

I had already specially reserved the rights of reproduction by the engraving, the photography, the imagery, and in order to be able myself, and without any levy, to leave complete freedom for these kinds of reproductions, as well as that has always happened so far. I would like today, in view of the considerations I have just explained, to do the same for all the other reproductions of the Tower, whatever they may be, and I have no doubt that you do not appreciate the sentiment to which I obeyed and inspired only by the general interest.

Pending a favorable reply, please accept, Gentlemen, the assurance of my highest consideration.

      billion. Eiffel.


With a treaty in good standing, and consequently its undeniable right, the Jules Jaluzot Society did not answer immediately. This request for termination outright put it in the presence of many difficulties, impossible to decide overnight. Following the contract with Mr Eiffel and which gave him the exclusive right to reproduce the Tower of the Champ de Mars, she had also made treaties with several manufacturers to whom she conceded the monopoly of the manufacture of different specialties. These industrialists, who were currently thirty-one, would they like to accept the termination of their treaty? It was unlikely.

Most of them had been geared up for considerable production and the day when competition was allowed, they would find themselves spending money that would no longer be in line with their profits.

Thus a jeweler was already employing 150 workers only to make trinkets representing the Eiffel Tower. One of these knick-knacks was in the shape of a silver or gold seal, and the machine that had to be built to make it had cost less than 12,000 francs, a considerable sum for the time. It was therefore natural enough for the jeweler in question to refuse to divest himself of a monopoly which had made him pay exceptional expenses. All the other manufacturers were pretty much in the same situation. As for the house Jaluzot, she had also made some sacrifices in anticipation of the sale of a single article. She had bought all the trimmings from the Eiffel Tower at the rate of 8 francs per 100 kilograms to make paperweights she intended to sell from April 1889. A factory was created specifically for this purpose.

She was, therefore, quite embarrassed in front of the proposal of Mr Eiffel and wondered how it would return in its disbursements if everyone had the right to imitate his products. As we see, the question was complicated, very complicated even, and his solution did not depend solely on the good will of MM. Jaluzot and Co. Moreover, the President of the Council of Ministers was moved by the numerous complaints received by the Ministry of Commerce, and he immediately seized the question of the public works section of the Council of State. It had met since March 8, 1889 and had declared that Mr Eiffel not having formally reserved the right of reproduction of the Tower, could not validly assign this right. The 300-meter tower, according to the Council of State, was part of the public domain for the duration of the Exhibition, and then that of the city of Paris, under the same convention between Mr. Eiffel, the State and the city.


The trial

The very day after this official decision, Mr Eiffel, threatened with a lawsuit on the part of MM. Jules Jaluzot and Co., wrote to Mr Tirard, President of the Council of Ministers, the following letter:


Paris, March 9, 1889.

Mr. President of the Council of Ministers,

The hope that I showed you in our last interview of an amicable arrangement with third parties regarding my rights to reproduce the Tower was unfortunately not realized. To break the contract, the consent of both contracting parties was required, and I was the only one to offer mine.

Today, I no longer have my freedom of action because I have just been assigned by MM. Jules Jaluzot and Co. in the civil court of the Seine. If I were willing to spontaneously abandon my right, I would not know, as you will understand, to let him challenge in court. It is my duty, in such a situation, to affirm the existence of it. When justice has pronounced on the debate initiated and proclaimed with respect to all my right of reproduction, I will be ready to renew the proposal which I had not hesitated to take the initiative to answer the desire of the Parisian industry, by my letter of February 26, which was made public.

Please accept, etc.

     G. EIFFEL.


As we see, everything was to start again and MM. Jaluzot, in seizing the justice of this affair, left in suspense many interests. It is enough, indeed, to read the following letter which emanates from the Chamber of trade of the manufacturers jeweler-jeweler to realize the damage which carried to the Paris trade these disputes.


Paris, March 11, 1889

Minister of Trade and Industry,

We have the honor to submit to your attention the situation of our factories about the Eiffel Tower. Our industry, considering that its reproduction belonged to the public domain, combined an innumerable series of various articles representing this monument, become one of the main ornaments of the Exhibition of 1889 and one of the current objectives.

The manufacturers, convinced of the full freedom of reproduction of this monument, have made considerable expense of tools and manufacturing facilities, which would become an immediate ruin for them, if this right of reproduction was theirs not allowed. All the industrialists understood that the State providing a million and a half, and the ground having been conceded by the city of Paris, and consequently the taxpayers taking part in the erection of the Tower, the reproduction in jewelery, goldsmith and other articles, had to be completely free.

Confident, Minister, in your constant concern for the interests and prosperity of our national industries, our Chamber of Manufacturers of Jewelers is hoping for an answer that clearly defines this critical and deplorable situation for Canadian companies. manufacturers and workers put to rest by this situation quite unforeseen.

Please accept, Mr. Minister, the assurance of our most respectful and dedicated feelings in our House of Trade.

      A. DECADE, President of the Chamber of Manufacturers jeweler


In the presence of these multiple claims and the attacks of which it was the object, Mr Jules Jaluzot made known publicly his way of thinking the following March 23:


The question, he wrote, may have been confused with pleasure and seem complicated to some people; but for me, as for all those who are used to treating business in a serious way and without ulterior motive, it is perfectly clear. Mr Eiffel has given me the exclusive right to reproduce the 300 meter tower in all its forms; so he thought he had the right.

It is today that this right is being challenged. Who should suffer the consequences, him or me? The answer can not be doubtful. Mr Eiffel was wrong, but that's no reason for me to be the victim of his mistake. I professed much admiration for the builder of the 300-meter Tower and, more than the idea of ​​making a happy speculation, this feeling pushed me to sign the treaty which is today the object of so many comments malicious. But I can not, however, let myself be trampled on without protesting and playing the role of the earthen pot, because I am one of the enthusiasts of this iron virtuoso. I can do it all the more since I represent other interests than mine, and without cowardice I can not abandon all those who have trusted me, as I myself have trusted in Mr Eiffel.

Do not tell me that I oppress the small business by holding a monopoly. It's absolutely wrong. I made the widest concessions to all those who asked me to make small objects in the room representing the Tower and I never worried them. Only one seizure was made on my order and it was for a facsimile of the monument, which was seven meters high, which was destined to be sent to America and whose resemblance to the original was so striking that one could have to believe that he was leaving the workshops even of M. Eiffel. This is the only act of repression that can be reproached to me, and in doing so I have acted in the fullness of my right. As for other traders with whom I have subcontracted, they are subject to royalties that have been calculated according to the value of the artifacts. The tax on cheap products is very minimal and to give just one example, I take only 3 cents on knives to thirteen sous that manufactures a cutler Thiers. On this sum, I give naturally, according to our conventions, 1 centime 1/2 to Mr Eiffel.

I can not be accused of abusing the situation. I will say even more, the treaty that binds me to Mr Eiffel is a guarantee for the Parisian trade, for the French manufacturer. The day when this treaty would be terminated, it would happen in the small national industry a real crash, and that because the foreigner, who for many months clandestinely manufactures the article Eiffel Tower, would flood us with its products.


Finally, an amicable settlement intervened between MM. Eiffel and Jules Jaluzot who both gave up a successful operation, very intelligent and very lawful, to make a gift to the Parisian trade. There was only one victim, the public, who did not get the clipboard of the Eiffel Tower that he had hoped to buy.


Reproduction Release: Created Objects

It is needless to add that the industry of the bimbeloterie and the jewelery was given to heart joy. All the trinkets she has created are innumerable and have honored her elegant fantasy and her utilitarian imagination. The most extraordinary combinations were not brought to light by Paris and France, but also by foreigners. Thus we saw on May 27, 1889, a view of the Tower and a portrait of Mr Eiffel sent from Vienna, Austria, by Mr Sofer, and written in 13,558 microscopic letters, containing the biography of the illustrious builder and description of his monument. It was recommended to read the whole thing from bottom to top starting from the left foot of the Tower, by the words "Gustave Eiffel".

The popular singer, Paulus, did not fail to dedicate spiritual verses in his song entitled The Lover of the Eiffel Tower. Novelists have seized it and poets too: novelists, to write "The Mystery of the Eiffel Tower", by Mr. Felix Steyne, published by the Bon Journal, founded by the famous publisher Ernest Flammarion; poets, to sing in the form of poems, sonnets, couplets, quatrains, "the modern Leviathan". Le Petit Journal even received, on April 19, 1889, a piece of 300 verses representing the structure of the Tower of 300 meters. The verses are written and arranged so that they reproduce very exactly and without drawing the work of Mr Eiffel. It's a poem-engraving, as Mr. Bourgade has called it, the author of this work of patience, really curious. For its part, the French Mail, very artistically, but so slightly inspired by its director Mr Jules Roques, in July 1891, made an extremely curious exhibition of a thousand original drawings on the Eiffel Tower.



See also:

Symbolims of the Eiffel tower

Cost of the Eiffel tower




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