Can Nativity scene characters attract copyright protection under Italian law? It depends

Typical Nativity sceneAt Christmas time the making of Nativity scenes in churches and homes is a Catholic tradition that is particularly common in Southern Europe.Like many other Italian children, I have wonderful memories of when my brother and I used to plan and realize new Nativity scenes every year under the supervision of our parents.But can the various characters (little statues) that compose the various Nativity scenes be eligible for copyright protection? This is an issue that has been recently at the centre of litigation in Italy.Katfriend Angela Saltarelli (Chiomenti) discusses an interesting ruling of the Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione).Here’s what Angela writes:“Naples is famous all over the world for its Nativity scene tradition, which dates back to the late 1700s. This city has even a pedestrian road called San Gregorio Armeno, where you can admire dozens of shops selling hand-made Nativity scenes.  Those shops sell any kind of…

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