Message which brought hope now copyright of Chile miner

  • Published
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in London holding the note written by miner Jose Ojeda
Image caption,
The Chilean President's use of the note while in Europe is said to have sparked the copyright move

The message that announced the trapped Chile miners were alive and well is now the copyright of the man who wrote it.

Jose Ojeda penned the note "Estamos bien en el refugio los 33" ("We are okay in the refuge, the 33 of us") which was discovered attached to a probe 17 days after the mine collapse.

The message brought hope to the nation and was seen on many flags, mugs, and T-shirts during the rescue operation.

Chilean writer Pablo Huneeus registered the phrase on Mr Ojeda's behalf.

Mr Huneeus, who is also a leading social critic, said he wanted to ensure that nobody misused the phrase.

"This phrase is a work of art," he said, "and one couldn't choose better words. Using the brain is a way of making money."

The author told The Times newspaper he was prompted to officially register the phrase after seeing Chilean President Sebastian Pinera handing out copies of the message to the British Queen and prime minister during his tour of Europe.

"I thought 'That's just too much'," said Mr Huneeus. "According to our law, copyright for a creation, invention, song, a piece of art, belongs to the author."

President Pinera also gave out pieces of stone from the San Jose mine to various leaders and officials on his tour of Europe.

Mr Ojeda, a widower with diabetes who was the seventh man to be rescued from the San Jose mine, is reported to be grateful that no one else will profit from his words.

Image caption,
Jose Ojeda apparently wants his note back from President Pinera

Mr Huneeus says the miner also wants President Pinera to give him his note back.

The Chilean leader reportedly considers the message part of the national heritage.

Since their dramatic rescue last week, Mr Ojeda and the other 32 miners have been inundated with media requests, commercial opportunities and offers of gifts, jobs and holidays.

But several miners are complaining that a week as a celebrity has been harder than 69 days trapped underground.

AFP quotes Mario Gomez as saying: "I'm extremely exhausted from being besieged by the press, tired of all the events and appointments with officials... I hope that all of this quiets down pretty soon".

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