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Looking ahead to new laws in Egypt

Egypt will be revising its laws relating to antiquities (see Nevine El-Aref, "Hands off, and we mean it", Al-Ahram Weekly 938 (12-18 March 2009)). Among the proposals is a change to the ownership of antiquities:
The second article to be repealed is the section of the law allowing possession of antiquities. A year after the approval of the law, all owners of Egyptian antiquities must hand over all objects to the SCA, which in its turn will install them in their archaeological storehouses.
The penalties will also be increased:
A smuggler who was sentenced to 15 years and fined LE50,000 would now be sentenced to life imprisonment and fined from LE100,000 to 500,000. Anyone who steals, hides, or collects authentic artefacts, or owns them without permission, will be imprisoned for 25 years and fined from LE50,000-250,000, instead of three years' hard labour and a LE100 fine. According to the new law, stealing or helping to rob a part of a genuine piece or intent deliberately to disfigure it will land a sentence of 15 years and a fine of from LE50,000-100,000.
There is also going to be a big change to Intellectual Property Rights (IP) (see earlier accounts from the BBC):
Sanctions would be placed for using photographs of archaeological sites or artefacts for commercial purposes without the permission of the SCA. Professional photography inside museums and archaeological sites will be completely prohibited unless permission has been given. Using photographs for educational purposes, by governmental authorities, for tourist attraction and for personal use will be free of charge; although the intellectual property on its own "logos" and trademarks will remain with the authority.

Comments

David - Although I totally side with Egypt in trying to control the looting of their heritage, these types of law leaves much room for unscrupulous dealings that can happen when an organization (government or otherwise) is given such broad power. I also think of how this will affect the working class who work in the tourism industry (taking photographs, selling replicas, etc).
David Gill said…
Victoria
These are helpful comments. Thank you!
David

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