A French court issued a ruling on April 13 2018 concerning
the photographs of Chambord Castle used by Kronenbourg
breweries in the context of an advertising campaign for one of
The case asked whether the castle, which is part of the
public domain of the French state, can be reproduced without
financial compensation or authorisation from the public
Previously, commercial exploitation of a photograph of a
private building has been allowed, without prior authorisation
or any financial compensation, unless the photo caused abnormal
disturbance to the owner of the building or if the owner had
copyright on that building.
The court confirmed this ruling and rejected the argument
that such commercial operation could be considered as private
use of the public domain. Deciding differently would restrain
the freedom of entrepreneurship.
This decision was, however, made prior to Law No. 2016-925
of July 7 2016 on the freedom of creation, architecture and
Now a specific system is set up for image rights of goods
falling under the category of "national domain". A first list
of six monuments and estates was submitted by the Ministry of
Culture and Communication and validated by the Historical
Monuments National Commission. On this list were the Chambord
Estate, the Castle of Angers, the Palais du Rhin in Strasburg,
the Estate of Pau, the Louvre and Tuileries Estates in Paris
(1st) and the Palais de l'Elysée in Paris (8th).
Article L. 621-42 of the Heritage Code means that prior
authorisation and potential financial compensation are now the
rule for using an image of such buildings.
However, such authorisation is not required when the image
also pursues a cultural, educational, research or information
purpose or is linked to a public service task.
A decree should provide details about the concept of
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