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The image rights of property

The owner of it is owner of the image of it ?


If the question has panicked courtroom last few years , the solution is well established in case law now . Imagine the situation : a person takes pictures of your house. A few weeks later , you realize that the pictures illustrate the brochure of a real estate agency or a tourist without you having given your permission.


The owner does not have an exclusive right


It is a third party entitled to exploit for commercial purposes the image of your property ? Well yes. This solution , far from obvious , was the subject of much debate among lawyers. After several turnovers, the judges of the Court of Cassation ruled in favor of the photographers .


What Is Property ? The right to property is a real right , that is to say, the right of a person on one thing. The property is divided in three parts :


  •  usus that is as the right to use things , to use , but also not to be used


  •  fructus , which means the right to receive income on the property (praising good example) ;


  •  abusus which is the right of the owner to dispose of it as he sees fit , destroy , sell or do nothing .



First step : to 2004


Initially, the courts held that only the owner could exploit the image of the good. The rationale is logical: the owner has absolute right over his property, so it is the only one to use the thing and earn income. This solution was the one chosen in a judgment of 10 March 1999. The facts were as follows: postcards of the first Parisian café released in 1944 were marketed. The Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the owner of the cafe, holding that "the owner has the exclusive right to use the property in any form whatsoever." The solution, very protective of the owners, was criticized in that it may limit public access to buildings of cultural or historical interest. In addition to made complicated the work of photographers and real estate press whose job is to show pictures of real estate.


Second step: since 2004


The Supreme Court changed its jurisprudence in a judgment of 7 May 2004. Now the owner of a property has no exclusive right to the picture of it . It can not therefore preclude a person 's photograph well and exploits this image. In this case, the front of a mansion had been reproduced on advertising leaflets of a residence immobilière.La decision was subsequently confirmed in 2005 and has not been challenged since . In this case, the photograph of an eighteenth century house , accompanied by localisatrices details, historical or architectural , was published without permission of the owners , in a book on common heritage of France .