Verizon apologizes over unlicensed Parthenon ad

US-based telecoms giant Verizon has agreed to withdraw adverts that featured an unlicensed photo of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, Greek authorities said yesterday. The company apologized for using a picture of the 2,500-year-old temple in a newspaper advertising campaign, a Culture Ministry statement said. Verizon said it was not aware it had broken Greek law and intended no disrespect to the monument, according to the statement. Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said the advert «was an insult to a monument that belongs not only to Greek but to global culture.» «We are satisfied with the American company’s apology,» he said. Under Greek law all commercial use of still and video images depicting ancient monuments requires a substantial fee and must be approved by senior Culture Ministry officials. Only once has the ministry granted permission for the use of the Parthenon in a corporate advertisement – as part of a 2005 deal with the Greek branch of Dutch multinational Philips. The company, which helped light up the temple for the 2004 Athens Olympics, reportedly paid more than -7,000 (US$9,429) and agreed to light another ancient monument. (AP)

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