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May 22, 2005 - Trademark Violation Gone Bad

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As noted at the beginning of the month in Trademark and Public Domain Issues with the Eiffel Tower, if one takes a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night there now is a licensing fee to post it.

But some things can be done for free. The Associated Press reports this from the city of dreams, or lights, or whatever –


May 17, 2005, 11:59 AM EDT

PARIS - A Norwegian man who leaped off the Eiffel Tower in a publicity stunt was killed after his parachute got stuck on an upper deck of the monument and came off, officials said Tuesday.

The man was Norwegian, said Anne Lene Sandsten, a spokeswoman for Norway's Foreign Ministry.

Preliminary investigations indicate the man planned to film his jump as part of a publicity stunt for a Norwegian clothing brand, police said. The man, 31, entered the tower with a hidden parachute and a helmet that had a small video camera attached to it, an official at Paris' police headquarters said on condition of anonymity.

When the man reached the tower's second deck 380 feet up Monday evening, he jumped. Investigators believe his parachute got caught on the tower's structure and detached.

The man continued his fall, crashing onto the 182-foot-high first deck of the Paris landmark, according to police and an official for SNTE, the company that manages the tower. …


This was unauthorized, of course.  One is not supposed to do any parachuting from the tower, and this Norwegian clothing company obviously didn’t ask permission, if that is what this was about.  It was at night.

So what was this about?

Our Man in Paris lets us know. Received Wednesday 18 May at 5:52 am Pacific Time from Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis


The story of the man who had an unsuccessful descent from the Eiffel Tower on Monday night was too late for the evening's TV-news. Monday was the day when France was undecided about having a holiday, so this was the news along with the other usual twenty-five items. It was also the 'official' start of the campaign for the referendum vote. We barely get one thing finished before we're on to the next.

On Tuesday the prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin told the French why they should vote 'oui' in the referendum. To fit this in the TV-news was shortened, so there was no time to mention the tower jumper. Those pushed or who jumped in front of Métro trains on Monday and Tuesday were not mentioned either. A bunch of people near Lyon are infected with Legionnaire's Disease and the authorities don't know what's causing it.

But Monday's news is still around if one digs deep enough.

Apparently the jumper was one of a small group who had tried to set up a take-off from the Tour Montparnasse around 15:00 in the afternoon on Monday. It is 210 metres high and there is not much grass around its base.

The Eiffel Tower was open on Monday night when the Norwegian, reported to be 31, leaped off wearing some sort of parachute. He went off the second stage, which is only 115 metres high. Something went wrong and he slammed into the first stage, 57 metres above the Champ de Mars.

The reports are conflicting. One says the jump was to be filmed as an Internet stunt and another says it was supposed to be filmed as some sort of ad for clothing. Apparently nothing was filmed. In 1912 another parachutist didn't make it down in one piece and the film of it was over in 5 seconds.

Statistics about the numbers of jumpers from the Eiffel Tower are not readily available. The management company thinks jumpers give the metal tower a bad image. There are a lot of controls on the tower to prevent jumpers but it is a very complex structure and it's impossible to watch it all.

Reports quoted a spokesman as saying that, 'in some years there can be two or three jumpers but there are also years when there are none.'

Requests for permission to climb on the Eiffel Tower are 'systematically refused.' Films and documentaries have permission, but are restricted to areas accessible to the general public. The only regular climbers, once a month, are members of a special Paris fire department unit, who use the tower for training.


Well, this is a mystery - and wouldn’t be in the news if the fatal jump had been the Tour Montparnasse – the only skyscraper in the city proper, a big black thud of a thing.  No romance there.

Want to see a successful parachute jump from the Tower?

This week on cable here in Hollywood one could watch a rather tired old James Bond movie, A View to a Kill (1985) - the last one with Roger Moore as Bond – where Grace Jones (as the evil villainess May Day) parachutes from the Eiffel Tower and lands on one of those Bateaux-Mouche and an odd chase ensues involving a Citroën that Bond drives, losing more and more of the car in various crashes until it’s just the seats and the front end (kind of like the chopped-up knight in the Monty Python movie).  But that really was the Eiffel Tower, and a real jump - but not Grace Jones.  The parachutist was a stuntman named B. J. Worth.  


Ah well.

So catch it if you can...

Actual size...

From the Just Above Sunset archives. Those are not safety nets.  They were painting the thing.

Actual size...


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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