I’ll Have One Ray of Sunshine, Please!
There’s nothing better than getting your swimsuit on and heading down to the beach, or packing a basket and taking your family to the park, or setting up the barbeque in the back yard and enjoying the sweet, sweet rays of summer. But what if you had to pay every time you set foot into the sun? Having to choose between being as white as Robert Pattinson in the last Twilight movie and being flat broke are not the most appealing of options.
The people of Spain (perhaps even the world) might just have to make this decision after Angeles Duran, a 49-year-old woman from Galicia, claimed ownership of our most precious provider of light and warmth. Legally she is completely within her rights – there is an international agreement that states that no country may claim ownership of a star or a planet, but of course, she is not a country, and after an American man recently laid claim to the moon, she followed suit and had the celestial body registered to her at a local notary office.
If it makes you feel any better, she’s planning on using the money earned from this little entrepreneurial stint to drag Spain out of its financial crisis – 50% of the proceeds will go to the government, 20% to the country’s pension fund, 10% to research, 10% to ending world hunger and she will unashamedly pocket the rest. After all, she did say, “anyone else could have done it, it simply occurred to me first” and that “It is time to start doing things the right way, if there is an idea for how to generate income and improve the economy and people's wellbeing, why not do it?” Her only issue now is finding out how to catch those sneaky sun users out there and slap a bill on them.
If you think this is crazy (or genius), know that there are others roaming around claiming ownership of things we no longer realized we didn’t have the right to use without paying for. We have Lindsay Lohan (of course) who has claimed to own all rights to the name ‘Lindsay’; Leo Stoller, an ‘intellectual property entrepreneur’, who claimed ownership of the word stealth in 1985; Zynga, of game-creator fame, suing for all usage of words ending in the suffix ‘-ville’; and last but not least is the Tampa man who, after murdering a couple, sued their families for the pickup truck he tried to rob them of. The world is full of people claiming the right to things that were either never theirs to begin with, or were god-given natural resources, and if we’re charged for every other gift earth has to offer us – including water, wood, oil and the land itself - why should the sun be any different?
How do you feel about Ms Duran owning the sun? What would you like to claim ownership to, if you had the choice? Let us know below and while you’re at it, test your knowledge with other freaky facts from the country of Spain in our True or False game!