Disfiguring a relic could earn you a Copyright over it!

Possibly so (though we don’t recommend it. Try non-theological cartooning if you must)! When 80 year old Cecilia Gimenez from Borja, Spain discovered that the church fresco of Jesus Christ at the Misericordia Sanctuary had begun flaking and showing signs of wearing off, she attempted to touch up and restore it. The result was so disastrous that it gave the Son of God a totally different appearance, somewhat reminiscent of a more primal (and clean shaven) form of man! So much so that the piece of 20th Century religious art is now being popularly called “Ecce Mono” (behold the monkey) rather than “Ecce Homo” (the style of the painting). The town has become a tourist hotspot with people queuing up to see her restoration work.

(Photograph belongs to The Mirror, UK. The copyright in the fresco might belong to Cecilia Gimenez, and we are using it for educational purposes)

While internet entrepreneurs have quickly devised ways of monetizing this craze by placing pictures of the relic on a huge range of products, online sources have revealed that Gimenez has shunned all offers for a slice of the pie.

Her lawyers however, are exploring the possibility of her having a Copyright on the work and may initiate legal action against infringers (her motives, she claims, are not monetary, and all proceeds of litigation will go to charity). It shall be interesting, in the coming days, to observe if a Copyright becomes applicable to the botched piece of art, as the same has likely set a new precedent in the world of Intellectual Property albeit, not a very encouraging one we feel.

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