6 August 2018CopyrightAurélia Marie

France jurisdiction report: Castles and commercial use

The Conseil d’État (Council of the State) ruled on this issue, in a decision of April 13, 2018, related to photographs of the Chambord Castle used by Kronenbourg Brewery in the context of an advertising campaign for one of its beers.

Courts had previously decided that the commercial exploitation of a photograph of a private building was allowed without prior authorisation or any financial compensation, unless the photo caused abnormal disturbance to the building’s owner or if the owner has copyright on that building.

The Conseil d’État adopted the same position and rejected the appeal filed by the public authority of the Chambord Estate against the decision of the administrative Court of Appeal of Nantes of December 16, 2015.

According to the Conseil d’État: “The occupancy or the use of the public domain is not submitted to any authorisation, and cannot, thereafter, be subject to payment of royalties.” So, it rejected the argument that such a commercial operation could in this case be characterised as a private use of the public domain.

It also underlined that, in the absence of a specific legal provision, the administrative authority could not submit the commercial use of a picture of a building belonging to the public domain to a prior authorisation system without restraining the freedom of entrepreneurship.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at