Egypt to ‘copyright’ antiquities

According to the BBC, Egypt will pass a new law which will require licence fees from anyone reproducing Egypt’s vast archaeological heritage, be it museum pieces or monuments. Although the article is not particularly clear on the details, the BBC interviewed Zahi Hawass, the chair of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, who claims that the law is needed to support and maintain Egypt’s archaeological treasures. He also claims that the law will have an effect worldwide.

I’m rather curious about this law. It seems like this would be some sort of statutory copyright extension to items which never had copyright. This has been done before in slightly different manner. In the UK, s301 of the CDPA provides perpetual royalties for adaptations and public performances of the play “Peter Pan”. These statutory extensions however cannot be enforced outside of the territory that implemented them, which leads me to wonder about the validity of such efforts.

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