Thursday, December 27, 2007

Copyrighting the pyramids

How crazy is this? Egypt has announced that they are copyrighting the pyramids, and intend charging royalties to anyone who copies them.

Zahi Hawass, the charismatic and controversial head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the move was necessary to pay for the upkeep of the country's thousands of pharaonic sites.

"The new law will completely prohibit the duplication of historic Egyptian monuments which the Supreme Council of Antiquities considers 100 per cent copies," [Zahi Hawass] said.


However, the law "does not forbid local or international artists from profiting from drawings and other reproductions of pharaonic and Egyptian monuments from all eras - as long as they don't make exact copies."

"Artists have the right to be inspired by everything that surrounds them, including monuments," he said.

Asked about the potential impact on the monumental Luxor Hotel in the US gambling capital of Las Vegas, Mr Hawass said that particular resort was "not an exact copy of pharaonic monuments despite the fact it's in the shape of a pyramid".

If the copyright only applies to exact duplicates (that is, the same shape and materials inside and out) one wonders that the point of retroactively copyrighting something created more than four thousand years ago? Are there really that many people making exact life-sized duplicates of the Great Pyramid of Giza?

1 comment:

Metro said...

Uh ... does that RIAA-esque copyright extend to full-scale models made using nothing but popsicle sticks and chewing gum?

No reason I ask ...