New Horizons in Intellectual Property Law
Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said his country wanted to own the copyright to its historic monuments and would use any money raised to pay for the upkeep of its most prestigious sites.
Hawass, an outspoken figure in the usually cautious world of antiquities, said the law had been agreed by a ministerial committee and would go before parliament, where it was expected to be passed easily. It would then apply anywhere in the world, he said.
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His comments came only a few days after an Egyptian opposition newspaper, Al-Wafd, published a report complaining that many more tourists each year travelled to the pyramid-shaped Luxor hotel in Las Vegas than to Luxor itself. The newspaper proposed that the US hotel should pay some of its profits to Luxor city.
Decs&Excs looks forward to any comment that may be forthcoming from Donn Zaretsky's Art Law Blog.
In the meantime, TIME Magazine's Richard Lacayo offers a precis of architectural copyright and the particular problem posed by structures with Origins Lost in the Mists of Antiquity:
My question: Can you copyright ancient monuments that have no known architect? The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works provides a mechanism to extend protection to the 'authors' of works of architecture. Some sculptural monuments by identifiable artists have copyrights. The Statue of Liberty — by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi — has had one since 1876, ten years before it was dedicated in New York Harbor. And though the Eiffel Tower has been in the public domain for years, its night time image is not. Its decorative electric light display is copyrighted, which effectively copyrights the tower at night, so commercial photographers have to pay a fee to take its picture once the lights are on.
Cover image of Pyramid Power: The Millennium Science via Earthpulse Press -- where you can still purchase this million-selling 1973 classic that was "decades ahead in presenting many ideas in science which are now embedded into our consciousness."