Fresco "restorer" wants a royalty from the church

Cecilia Gimenez, the octogenarian Spanish amateur art restorer who dramatically refashioned a 100-year-old Jesus fresco at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, has declared that her botched effort is copyrighted (probably true as a matter of law), and is demanding that the church cut her in on some of the donations that come from people who visit the church to marvel at her handiwork.

Old Lady Ruins Fresco, Claims Copyright, Demands Money (Thanks, EeeyoreX!)


  1. I would agree to a single payment of “royalties”.  Once she agrees,
    I would calculate a reasonable amount of “royalties”, then calculate a reasonable amount owed for “damage to a priceless artifact” and “professional restoration work” (as opposed to “amateur restoration work”) and then make sure that the second amount is just slightly higher than the first amount, so that she owes the owners of the painting money.

    Just make sure that initial agreement contains a clause that means she can’t sue the church afterwards.

    1. I agree, except for the “make sure that the second amount is just slightly higher than the first amount.” No reason for the church to be that generous.

      … Except because it’s ostensibly a religion of “forgiveness,” but your mileage may vary widely on that. The God of love and peace and forgiveness and eternal suffering, creator of the system of damnation.

  2. Even at the most generous view: She donated her work. It may be her copyright, but the actual artwork belongs to the church and she has absolutely no claim against donations they receive from people coming to see it.

    If someone _republished_ it — eg if someone created a T-shirt featuring this horror — she might be able to lodge a copyright complaint against then. Though note that many/most of the images which have appeared in news stories would be considered “fair use”.

    I can’t blame her for trying to find a formulation in which she is an artist rather than an idiot, but this isn’t it.

  3.  The “amateur restorer” (think that might actually be overstating the case) seems much less the hapless “Mrs. Bean” and more Black Adder now.

  4. Curious. If the image of the ‘beast’ Jesus were to appear on a potato chip or window or toast by way of a miracle, would she hold copyright to that too?

  5. This looks like a case for Ken@Popehat!  (superman music) He’d straighten out this mess in a fast hurry.

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