Public domain claimed from five millennia ago
December 26th, 2007

The spirit of open publishing has hit a pharaonic wall in Egypt where copyright is being claimed for antiquities so that royalties can be used to protect the ancient artifacts. The BBC reports:

Egypt’s MPs are expected to pass a law requiring royalties be paid whenever copies are made of museum pieces or ancient monuments such as the pyramids.

Zahi Hawass, who chairs Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, told the BBC the law would apply in all countries. The money was needed to maintain thousands of pharaonic sites, he said.

Correspondents say the law will deal a blow to themed resorts across the world where large-scale copies of Egyptian artefacts are a crowd-puller.

Mr Hawass said the law would apply to full-scale replicas of any object in any museum in Egypt. “Even if it is for private use, they must have permission from the Egyptian government,” he added. But he said the law would not stop local and international artists reproducing monuments as long as they were not exact replicas. . . .


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