Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Egypt to copyright pyramids

CAIRO (AFP) — In a potential blow to themed resorts from Vegas to Tokyo, Egypt is to pass a law requiring payment of royalties whenever its ancient monuments, from the pyramids to the sphinx, are reproduced.

Zahi Hawass, the charismatic and controversial head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told AFP on Tuesday that 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-percent copies," he said.

"If the law is passed then it will be applied in all countries of the world so that we can protect our interests," Hawass said.

He said that a ministerial committee had already agreed on the law which should be passed in the next parliamentary session, while insisting the move would not hurt Egyptian artisans.

"It is Egypt's right to be the only copyright owner for these monuments in order to benefit financially so we can restore, preserve and protect Egyptian monuments."

In other news, the surviving relatives of Boris Karloff have retained counsel in order to notify Egyptian authorities that the actors' portrayal of Imhotep in the 1932 classic "The Mummy" has been both copyrighted and declared to be the sole property of the Karloff estate as stipulated in his agreement with MGM Pictures, and that any accounts or representations of Egypt, the pyramids, or any dynastic Pharaoh, will be considered infringements of international law with the country of Egypt itself subject to stiff fines and penalties.

An anonymous representative of the estate has reportedly contacted Egypt in an attempt to settle these differences, but remained adamant that if the country does not change its name to African-Sand-Palaces-From Way-Way-Back or for that matter anything but Egypt, multiple lawsuits would begin.

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