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Wed 17 Dec 2008 02:18 PM

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Iconic Dubai buildings 'protected by copyright'

Expert says Taj Mahal copyright row unlikely to spread to emirate as buildings are protected.

A row over copying iconic building design, which last week caused a diplomatic fracas between India and Bangladesh, is unlikely to spill over to the UAE as most modern buildings are protected by copyright law, an expert has said.

Last week Bangladeshi film director, Ahsanullah Moni, unveiled an exact replica of India’s Taj Mahal, provoking fury from the Indian High Commission.

While the Indian High Commission claimed it was investigating a violation of copyright, Rob Deans, head of Intellectual Property at Clyde & Co in the UAE, said that iconic buildings in the UAE such as the Burj Al Arab are protected.

“The Burj Al Arab is copyright protected [and] will be for a good number of years,” he said adding that the protection covers most new buildings.

“You cannot copy it [the Burj Al Arab] in any form, you can’t copy it by constructing another building, by constructing replicas of any scale, and even taking photographs of the Burj Al Arab will be copyright  infringement.”

Moni’s copy of the Taj Mahal, which cost around $62 million, is being built near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. It was reported that Moni imported marble and granite from Italy and diamonds from Belgium for the building.

Moni told the UK’s Times that his homage was built because most people living in Bangladesh, cannot afford to travel to India to see the real thing.

“Everyone dreams about seeing the Taj Mahal but very few Bangladeshis can make the trip because it's too expensive for them,” he said.

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