Who Owns the Mummy?

     WEST PALM BEACH (CN) – A touring mummy show sued a German museum, claiming it loaned it a South American mummy without having rights to it.
     American Exhibitions II and Mummies of the World Touring Co. sued Curt-
     Engelhorn Stiftung fur Die Reiss-Engelhorn Museen, of Mannheim.
     The dispute is over the Atacama Desert Male Mummy, from the western highlands of South America. The Atacama Desert, in parts of Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile, is the driest desert in the world – great weather to preserve bodies.
     Mummies of the World Touring claims the Reiss Engelhorn Museum granted it “the exclusive right to tour a collection of rare and ancient mummies and related artifacts to be exhibited at museums and science centers in the United States for a period of three years.”
     The tour producers claim they “invested millions of dollars to design, fabricate and prepare the mummy exhibit as a touring exhibition titled ‘Mummies of the World.'”
     They claim the Reiss Engelhorn Museum got 90 percent of the mummies and artifacts for the show from 20 organizations.
     “In the original agreement, REM [Reiss Engelhorn Museum] warranted that it had the full authority to enter into the agreement,” the complaint states.
     However, “In February 2013, during the term of the agreement, REM demanded the return of one of the mummies known as the Atacama Desert Male Mummy. Although not having any obligation to return the mummy, when REM further insisted, plaintiffs returned the Atacama Mummy to REM, while reserving all their rights to that mummy as well as any remedies they may have against REM.”
     Mummies of the World adds that “Although REM warranted that it possessed all rights and approvals to give plaintiffs the rights to the mummies and related artifacts … it did not posses all the rights and approvals to the loaned mummies and artifacts, which it had granted all rights to plaintiff.”
     The museum pulled the mummy from the show because its rightful owner demanded the return of the property, according to the complaint.
     The tour producers also say the Reiss Engelhorn Museum claims, falsely, that it owns the “Mummies of the World” name, which the plaintiffs claim as their intellectual property.
     Mummies of the World Touring seeks $1 million in damages and declaratory judgment that it owns the “Mummies of the World” name.
     “Mummies of the World” is the largest mummy exhibition to tour the United States, according to the exhibition’s website.
     The producers are represented by Marcus Corwin from Boca Raton.

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