A few weeks ago, I was asked for some quotes ** on the Egyptian copyright law requiring loyalties to be paid whenever someone or some institution makes copies of their “Egyptian antiquities” (think, the Sphinx or the pyramids). People were wondering how this would affect existing renditions, such as the Luxor Hotel in Vegas.
Well, lucky for Luxor, Zahi Hawass, chair of the Supreme Council on Antiquities in Egypt, has cut Luxor some slack. He says that, while the exterior certainly looks like an exact copy, when you walk inside, it’s nothing like the inside of the actual monument.
In my opinion, I’m not sure how legitimate this law will turn out to be if that’s how easily people can get away with it. Not saying that people should be punished, but the question is what interests Egypt has in mind here… commercial or historical? It’s probably a mix of both.
In Luxor’s defense, they’ve done a stellar job at making their hotel quite a popular one, and I’d be willing to bet that it’s not because people go to see a replica of an ancient Egyptian monument. It’s probably because it looks cool, it’s great inside, and…oh yeah… you can gamble and have a wild weekend. I don’t think anyone wakes up and says “I’d really like to see some artifacts, real or not….let’s go to the Luxor Hotel.”
But, based on Hawass’s response, I think he knows this. Let’s see how effective the law turns out to be. I don’t blame them for passing it, it just seems like there are probably a ton of loopholes…..
** This website is in Portuguese, and, when translated, is not entirely accurate (the women sent me the .pdf of the article to review after it was sent to publishing…oh well). I’m not an expert on Egypt (or copyright law for that matter), but I suppose it doesn’t matter as she asked for very little from me.