Woman seeks to copyright ‘restored’ 19th-century fresco

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

By now it is likely that many individuals throughout the world, including our Miami readers, are familiar with the 19th-century fresco of Jesus located in a church in Spain that was the subject of a failed restoration by a well meaning octogenarian. Despite not having received any training on how to complete such a restoration, the woman claimed a priest at the church in which the fresco “Ecce Homo,” or “Behold the Man,” is located provided permission to undertake the task.

The woman’s actions angered many and have led those in charge of the sanctuary to explore filing a lawsuit against her for the damage done.

In the meantime, the story of what happened to the fresco made international news and images of the “restoration” have been utilized in products throughout the world. Despite having arguably ruined a treasure, in a strange twist, the restoration has resulted in tourists flocking to the church where it is located. The church has even employed a security guard, roped off the portion of the church where it is located and started charging admission. Reportedly it took in approximately $2,600 over the course of the first four days.

Now the woman who completed the restoration is seeking to recoup some of the profits being made off her handiwork. She has obtained lawyers and is in the process of seeking a copyright of the new image. Should she be successful in the endeavor, she would be entitled to license the use of the image and collect royalties.

What do you think the outcome of this will be?

Source: New York Daily News, “Pay up! Woman who turned botched Spanish fresco of Jesus into worldwide sensation wants her cut from admission charges,” Erik Ortiz, Sept. 20, 2012