Asked in Copyright LawThe Mona Lisa
Is there any Copyright protection on da Vinci's Mona Lisa?
June 21, 2007 5:25AM
No. The copyright laws were not invented at that time. Which is
why everyone prints the Mona Lisa on Birthday cards, postcards and
sings songs about it. The song "Mona Lisa by Tony Bennett" has a
copyright on it. Because Bennett wrote and performed it and made it
famous. However, just because the underlying work is "old" and not
copyrighted does not mean you can take anyone else's copy and use
it! Each "new" copy of the Mona Lisa painting could have "creative"
differences that merit separate protection. For example, you can't
copyright the Grand Canyon, but everyone who takes a picture of it
owns the copyright of that picture.