Culture

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
bangladesh, india, taj mahal



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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  • identicon
    neel, 15 Dec 2008 @ 5:24pm

    wow, but i kinda agree with the indians on this one.
    its national monument, im sure if someone else tried to build an exact replica of the White House people would protest

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Trails (profile), 15 Dec 2008 @ 5:43pm

      Re:

      I don't.

      If someone built a copy of the white house, I'd say "what a lame attempt at generating tourism. Who wants to go see some wanker's copy when I could go see the real thing"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 15 Dec 2008 @ 5:56pm

      Re:

      its national monument, im sure if someone else tried to build an exact replica of the White House people would protest

      Protest? Perhaps. But the question is why? And what legal right would they have if they did protest? (Answer: none).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 6:03pm

      Re:

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rose M. Welch, 16 Dec 2008 @ 10:40pm

      Re:

      Nope. Not only am I an American, I'm from the so-called 'real' America.

      Build a White House. That would be pretty darn flattering.

      It would be much more flattering than replicating any of our nationally recognized tombs or funereal areas...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    james (profile), 15 Dec 2008 @ 5:30pm

    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".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2008 @ 8:10am

      Re: also agree

      Yeah, but don't you think the copyright should have expired after, say, A FEW CENTURIES?! Good Lord, next Egypt will claim a copyright of Great Pyramids. Oh wait, the Greeks can probably claim a copyright on the column and the Romans on the arch.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 5:48pm

    There actually are many replicas of the White House. Several in the states (bunch in Texas) and I think one in Iran. I'm sure Americans had a fit over it as well.
    It's their right to complain just like it's someone else's right to complain that they are complaining.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 6:00pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 15 Dec 2008 @ 8:18pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        zcat, 15 Dec 2008 @ 9:33pm

        Re: Re: Why no copyright?

        So?

        They can simply pass the Indian version of the Sonny Bono copyright extension act and make copyright as long as necessary, retroactively. In fact Disney would probably love that because then they have a really sweet precedent when they want to 'harmonise' copyright law elsewhere.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 11:32pm

        Re: Re: Why no copyright?

        Because everyone's laws are like America's, am I right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2008 @ 6:47pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 6:06pm

    Yawn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    blinkdt, 15 Dec 2008 @ 6:14pm

    The One and Only

    The Taj is the Taj and that's it. They'd need to copy the Taj itself, replicate the landscape (to include the river), and add the outlying palaces but they'd still fall short. Good lord, even if they moved it . . . two words, London Bridge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    cram, 15 Dec 2008 @ 7:14pm

    fyi

    http://www.thamestown.com/english/default.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_Town

    Persona lly I think copying the Taj is just a bad idea, but the Indian government is also giving it unnecessary publicity by raising a storm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    B, 15 Dec 2008 @ 7:17pm

    TechDirt?

    This place seems to feel more and more like LegalDirt instead of TechDirt to me...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      BTR1701, 16 Dec 2008 @ 6:57am

      Re: TechDirt?

      > This place seems to feel more and more like
      > LegalDirt instead of TechDirt to me...

      You know, you are perfectly free to stop reading the site if it no longer meets your needs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nipsey russell, 15 Dec 2008 @ 7:38pm

    "Why couldn't the INDIAN government have decided that it is entitled to copyright protection? "
    sure, they could. why would a bangladeshi business man give a flying fig, though?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bunny, 15 Dec 2008 @ 7:41pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2008 @ 9:11am

      Re: What about blueprints?

      Do they have the blueprints and will the new Fake Mahal be built using them? Or will they make up their own blueprints?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daniel, 15 Dec 2008 @ 8:13pm

    Lighten Up!

    Most people, especially those in Bangladesh, can't afford to go the real Taj Mahal. Although the money could be better spent helping those poor people, if it makes some happy, so be it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 9:17pm

    This would be a great reality TV show. But do you think Patricia Richardson will screw it up again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 9:45pm

    copydirt!!!!!

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kawika, 15 Dec 2008 @ 9:54pm

    Taj Mahal Replacement?

    I just heard the Islamics want to destroy the Taj.
    Just like they blew up all those huge Buddhas.
    That will just take more dynamite, but they seem to have plenty of that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ravi, 16 Dec 2008 @ 1:48am

    Shah Jahan built the Taj for his wife at the expense of a vast number of poor citizens. Now Bangladesh has to go through this as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Neverhood, 16 Dec 2008 @ 3:32am

    Feta?

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2008 @ 11:32am

    Off topic, but shouldn't Bangladesh be building levies and dikes instead?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bigTex, 17 Dec 2008 @ 4:38am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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