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Catholic Church to Columbia Pictures: You Break Jesus You Buy Him

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Lawyers for the Catholic Church in Brazil are not happy with Columbia Pictures. The complaint: Columbia’s depiction of the destruction of Rio’s famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue in the studio’s 2009 disaster film “2012.”

Jesus, as it turns out, is copyrighted in Brazil.

THR, Esq. has the story:

Brazil uses a variation on U.S. copyright law, granting copyright to the author of a work until his death, then to his estate or heirs for another 70 years. Christ the Redeemer was created in 1931 by French artist Paul Landowski on commission from the Rio archdiocese. Landowski died in 1961, and the archdiocese says it holds copyright until 2032. …

Columbia, on the other hand, tells [THR, esq.] it did get a license, just not from the church.

“Acting on a good faith belief that the estate of the sculptor of the statue held the copyright, we sought and received their permission to use the image in the movie,” a studio rep told us. “We are currently in discussions with the archdiocese in hopes of reaching an agreement in this matter.”

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