• In 2010 Ángeles Durán proclaimed herself the owner of the king star, taking advantage of a legal loophole.

  • He even assessed a fee for electricity companies and received a claim from a person who had been burned by exposure to the sun.

The French monarch Louis XIV was known as the Sun King, with a capital letter and all his absolutist pomp. Strictly speaking, that title belongs to another person, however, and it is neither the priest king Cuahtémoc, great governor of the Aztecs, nor the Egyptian emperor Amenhotep III. If there is a lady and sovereign of the Astro King—or at least that is what she maintains—that is Ángeles Durán, a Galician who one fine day in 2010 decided to do something that no one else had done in thousands of years of human history: she left her house in Salvaterra do Miño, in the region of Vigo, and stood in the office of a notary to draw up an official document that she, and no one else but her, declared herself the legitimate and authentic owner of the Sun.

When the good notary heard her, he couldn't help but laugh, but he had no choice but to consult with his professional association and, in fact, sign a record of what that lady said. Since then, the story of Ángeles Durán has taken on delirious overtones, worthy of a good astro-legal thriller.I solicited.

I, owner of the Sun. This is how Ángeles Durán has proclaimed herself, a Galician who in 2010 surprised the world by proclaiming herself the owner of the Sun. And no, we are not speaking figuratively. The news was advanced in its day The voice of Galicia, which recounted how Durán went to a notary in a neighboring town, in the Vigo region, to draw up a record that she was the legitimate owner of the axis of the Solar System. If that became news—and she did, so much in fact that it made headlines in foreign media—it was not so much because of the occurrence itself as because of the result. Durán left the office with a document with which he did not hesitate to pose for the cameras.

“I am the owner of the Sun, a star of spectral type G2, which is located in the center of the solar system, located at an average distance from the Earth of approximately 149,600,000 kilometers…”, proclaims the minutes of statements with the notary's seal. The Galician newspaper explains that the official laughed when he heard Durán's claims, but he still consulted with his college and ended up attesting that the woman in front of him declared herself the legitimate possessor of the Sun.

Of legal loopholes and picaresque. Since then, many things have been said about Durán: that she is a lawyer and psychologist, that at that time she worked as a judicial expert and even, as she also published The voice of Galicia at the end of last year, who lives in northern Italy and is dedicated to preparing a book about the British royal family. What there is no doubt about is that she spent time planning her strategy to proclaim herself the owner of the Sun. Whether more or less correct, what is undeniable is that her request was based on a legal argument that she raised in her day and still maintains. in 2019 before the Cuatro cameras.

Going back to Roman law. The Galician law basically rested on two legs: a legal vacuum and a legal figure that dates back to Roman law. The first is related to the international agreement that establishes that no country can appropriate the planets. The key for Durán is in that nuance: that it affects the states would not imply, he maintains, that it extends to individuals.

The second key is usucapion, which allows one to obtain the real right of those elements that have been enjoyed for a certain time. And Durán had been benefiting from the Sun's rays daily for decades. Like the other almost 8,000 million people who reside on this wide planet, true, but no one else had thought to raise it like this in a notary office.

The law is made… Made the loophole. At least that's what Durán thought. “I have not bought the Sun because no one has sold it to me. I have made a deed for what is called usucapion,” he insisted in 2019 during an interview in Cuatro, in which he assured that this figure can be used “by electromagnetic apprehension.” .

The truth is that Durán has not been the first to do something similar. Decades ago an American businessman, Dennis Hope, claimed that he had found a legal loophole that allowed him to claim sovereignty of the Moon. His argument was very similar to that of the Galician: Hope was based on an old law from the 19th century, from the American pioneers, and that the Outer Space Treaty does not affect individuals.

Owner of the Sun, and something more. The most curious thing is that the Sun is not the only property that Durán has claimed, although it is certainly the one that takes the cake in size, implications and impact. The Galician has made other equally curious visits to the General Registry of Intellectual Property. The world and The country They have echoed how he came to record Tarzan's cry or “the longest score in the world”, 24,000 million measures and related to telephony.

“Every time you dial a number, notes are playing and no one has recorded them,” he explained in 2010: “If you dial 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, you are making a few bars and all the possible combinations, all of them, I have recorded them my name”.

A little plot in the sun… Durán was not satisfied with proclaiming herself the owner of the Astro Rey. She decided to go one step further, cutting up the star's vast expanse and selling plots on eBay. On the first day she managed to market nearly a hundred stellar plots. As she explained on her day, 10,000 solar portions were offered, each accompanied by its respective certificate. For one euro, anyone could get a piece of star. It may not seem like much, but it's not bad at all when you consider that the Sun has a diameter of 1.4 million km.

…And a judicial mess. eBay was not convinced by the splitting and sale of the star and ended up blocking the sale. This was reported at least by Durán, who, convinced of her arguments, took the American online commerce giant to court and demanded 10,000 euros. There is no record of whether the judge on duty had a reaction similar to that of the Galician notary who registered the Sol, but the case ended up in the Court of First Instance 5 of Alcobendas. The lawsuit was admitted for processing and at least in July 2015 both parties had not reached an agreement in the conciliation act, so they were doomed to face each other months later in court. Excelsior He claims that the court ended up dismissing his case.

Question of rights… The legal soap opera could end there, but the story of Ángeles Durán and his supposed ownership of the Sun still gave rise to a few more chapters. When telling her story in 2010 to The voice of Galicia The Galician woman let it slip that one of the possibilities she had was to charge a fee for the use of solar energy, a fee of which, she assured, only 10% would be kept. The rest would go to public coffers and be dedicated to purposes with a social focus.

“If you pay for the rivers, why not for this?” he reflected. In 2022 and after all the commotion generated, she assured that she never threatened to collect taxes from citizens and that the scenario “in which she was working” at the time focused on electricity companies. That did not stop media outlets from echoing his case. The Telegraph, Clarion, time,CBS News, Washington Post either Daily Mail.

…And a question of responsibilities. Again, it is not the end of Durán's soap opera. The Sun can be enormous, very important, unique, key to the Solar System, but if it is considered in terms of property it is the same as any piece of land: it implies rights, but also responsibilities. And it is to the latter that a citizen appealed who in 2015 denounced the Galician for the injuries caused by the Sun. “I have red eyes and burns, I went to the emergency room, I have photos to prove it. I will try to reach an agreement or I will go to court,” he warned.

Durán's response is also in line with that of many other people in lawsuits over property responsibilities, although in his case the dimension was quite much greater: the fault was not his, Durán maintained, but that of his neighbor. “People think they can complain to me but the Sun is not to blame for cancer, it is the pollution that destroys the ozone layer. By the same logic, I could ask them for compensation for the food they eat,” he emphasized.

Cover image: NASA/SDO

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