Vatican Copyrights Pope’s Words

In slightly related news – Copyright issues are not only big in blogging circles at the moment – TimesOnline reports that the Vatican has decided to impose copyright on all of the Pope’s Papal pronouncements. It not only covers future words of the current Pope but all of his predecessors from the past 50 years.

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  1. Interesting bit of news.

  2. If you dig a little deeper into this, you will see that it is not so alarming or disturbing after all. The Vatican made this announcement because an Italian publishing house apparently tried to sell a book purporting to come directly from the words of Benedict, when it actually wasn’t. So the Vatican’s publishing house asserted its copyright over Benedict’s words, just as it had done with the late Pope John Paul II.
    An article from Catholic News Service states that newspapers, magazines and bishops conferences can still print the Pope’s words without having to pay royalties, as long as they don’t change his words, and include a copyright notice. (

    I think that anyone who produces original intellectual content, even the Pope, doesn’t want to see their words distorted or plagiarized, especially for profit. Don’t you?

  3. Well, we’d best stop quoting him. Maybe the ideal thing is to stop using anything related to him… Shall we make up whole new religions? Or just skip the whole thing. I know, a new OpenSource religion. UNIcatholic for the Masses. Sillyness.

  4. Martin says:

    Maybe if the Vatican is concerned about correct attribution rather than about making money they should put a Creative Commons licence on the pope’s pronouncements. This would allow people to use his words freely without having to ask for permission, provided they give him credit. When something is copyrighted, the usual assumption is that one has to ask for permission first – which will deter lots of people.