There Can Be Only One… Taj Mahal?

from the people-are-too-protective dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in the story from late last week about how India is protesting a wealthy Bangladeshi’s plan to build an exact replica of the Taj Mahal, claiming that India has some sort of “copyright” on the building. Of course, it’s not actually a “copyright,” and no one seems able to present a single shred of evidence as to what law would prevent someone in an entirely different country from copying the building. The reality is that there isn’t likely to be any such law, and even if there were, it wouldn’t hold any sway in another country. However, this is yet another case, such as the Lebanese attempt to claim ownership of such popular foods as falafel and hummus, where, in the pursuit of national pride, some people seem to ignore any rational thought.

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Comments on “There Can Be Only One… Taj Mahal?”

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james (profile) says:

also agree

I agree that the building doesn’t get copyrighted, but the likeness of the building can. If I am not mistaken, the eiffel tower is licensed through the French Tourism bureau.

I do agree that with something being in another country, the laws are going to be hard to push, but on that note, there can be other economic and political retaliations that arise from such a blatant “slap in the face”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why no copyright?

By what authority do you say that “of course, it’s not actually a copyright.” Why not? How do you know? Why couldn’t the INDIAN government have decided that it is entitled to copyright protection? The U.S. protects buildings with copyright, why couldn’t Indian law? And for whatever term it believes appropriate?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Why no copyright?

Why couldn’t the INDIAN government have decided that it is entitled to copyright protection?

Because the Taj Mahal is over 350 years old. Any relevant copyrights would have expired long ago.

It’s a creature of statute. India can say the term of copyright is whatever the hell it feels like, and can do it for only one building if it wants.

Bunny says:

What about blueprints?

Despite the fact that blueprints for homes borrow heavily from traditional home designs, some investor-owned and lawyer-advised corporate home builders have attempted to prevent people from building homes that look like their model home offerings by using the fact that blueprints are written on paper. Of course, their designs aren’t that original or innovative, it’s just a way to stifle competition.

If that precedent is already set, the owners of the Taj Mahal could also argue that they have a copyright to the blueprints (as long as they grant a 1000-year+ extension to copyright… but that’s not as ridiculous as it sounds anymore).

It’s going to be interesting to see if Disney will be forced to take down its Taj Mahal replica from Epcot center because of this. The irony would be delicious, as they were the ones who set the extensions in motion in the first place, but I’m not going to hold my breath that a court will rule against them.

Anonymous Coward says:


I agree that copymahal is legal. But law (and especially lawyers!!) is more of an western concept and in the east people and government give more preference to moral grounds than legal grounds (Ex. Although, by law, the arrested mumbai terrorist should be provided a lawyer government hasn’t provided one and almost no lawyer is ready to defend him).

Legal but immoral…

BTW, I agree with B. Mike seems to have become an “expert” on copyright issues (did you see wired article??) and that is the issue he always wants to talk about.

Neverhood says:


Well… The greek has sucessfully trademarked “Feta” cheese, so noone in the other EU countries (at least) can make Feta cheese and call it “Feta”. Same goes for Champagne from france.

So if someone makes a building and calls it Taj Mahal, why wouldnt the Indian government think it somehow owned the right to that?

It’s the natural consequence of the sick IP laws we have in the world today, where immaterial goods = material goods.

bigTex says:

I’ve always thought that the State of Texas should trademark and defend the word Texas. Our state’s good name is used indiscriminately worldwide on products and services from “Texas sized cinnamon rolls” to the “Texas chainsaw massacre”. Our state should tax these products and return the profits from these evil corporations to Texas.

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