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Egypt To Copyright Pyramids, LuXor Doomed

By Chuckmonster on Wednesday, 26th December 2007 6:31am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 3


In a very interesting turn of legal events, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities will seek copyright protection (and licensing fees) for likenesses of its architectural antiquities including the Sphinx, Pyramids and other monuments and statues.

The new law will require all parties involved in operating, building or selling reproductions of Egyptian icons to pay a licensing fee to the Egyptian government that will be earmarked for preservation programs.

If this law is enacted, the famed LuXor hotel and casino may be required to pay a licensing fee to continue using the iconic Egyptian shapes and statues on the property. The head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities did say that LuXor, while being in the shape of a pyramid and having a Sphinx and other monuments around it, was "not an exact copy of pharaonic monuments despite the fact it's in the shape of a pyramid."

The question is, if the law passes will other locales pass similar legislation barring or requiring architects and resort operators to pay licensing fees for "cultural property." Perhaps the prominently displayed trademarks for everything Venetian™ (and hulking profits) might actually be reverted to their original owner... the citizens of Venice Italy. Or maybe Bellagio's take on Italy's Lake Como and Caesars Palace may also become intellectual property of the Italians, Riviera, Paris and Monte Carlo to the French, Stratosphere the Seattle-ites, Excalibur the English, New York-New York to the New Yorkers etc....

This opens up a debate that isn't very different from the one started with the rise of 'sampling' in the music industry. If someone uses minute musical ingredients to create a completely different piece of art from it, does the newly created piece belong to the re-builder or creators of the original source material? Did Paris Las Vegas get permission from the French to re-create the Eiffel Tower? Do they pay royalty fees?

If this holds up in court, and the Egyptian's get paid off, don't be too surprised to see other municipalities enacting similar legislation too far off in the distance.



Comments & Discussion:

The Eiffel Tower already has something like this, which is why they've been claiming copyright ownership of any photos of it since the nighttime lighting system was rejiggered about five years ago.

Other buildings, such as the Space Needle, are trademarked which means in essence that reproduction is okay so long as you don't say that your imitation is actually the Space Needle. As an icon, the Needle doesn't participate in end of the world fiction because it's managerial company that holds the trademark frowns on such use. NBC wound up in a legal battle when their "10.5" comedy, er, disaster flick used a replica of the building and called it "SPACENEEDLE" in a phony in-film news broadcast.

Most of these outfits and concerns are just interested in making sure that their icons don't wind up in political propaganda or the next alien invasion blockbuster without permission. The precedent you describe is highly unlikely since most of those buildings are protected to the degree they can be and many of them aren't the property of their governments.

Much like the Eiffel situation, the chances that anything that will happen here will be enforced is unlikely, especially without at least grandfathering in other works already in existence.

It's certainly nothing for casinos to lose sleep over.

Will this apply to the Powerslave album cover?? or perhaps will the Bangles have to stop walking like Egyptians?? or will Steve Martin have to stop singing King Tut??

that's it - i'm going to copyright the circle. and the square. yeah, now all you people pay me money!!!!!
as for steve martin not performing King Tut, that would be a good thing...

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