The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Tuesday, 21 February 2006


Papal copyright: royalties on the way

An apparently reputable source has emailed the IPKat to inform him that the Vatican is considering exploiting the copyright in Pope Benedict XVI's writings and speeches. He writes:

"The Italian publishing world is aghast. The demand by the Vatican to respect copyright in the pontiff's writings and to pay for their use has triggered a hot debate: should an institution which exists to spread the word of God be putting a price on papal writ? Unthinkable, say some authors. Not so, counters the Vatican: the authors are being paid for their efforts, so why not the church? While the question is pondered, the new papacy is shaping up as a publisher's dream. Benedict's first encyclical, God is Love, is a best-seller.

... After [Cardinal] Ratzinger was elected pope on 19 April, the Holy See's No. 2 official, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, signed a decree assigning in perpetuity and worldwide the copyrights of all Benedict's works - including the hundreds he wrote before becoming pope - to the Vatican's publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, known as LEV. La Stampa's Vatican correspondent, Marco Tosatti, and his Italian publisher, were hit with €15,000 (US$18,500) in copyright fees for Pope Ratzinger's dictionary, a slim volume of the pope's thoughts on abortion, freedom, conscience and other issues that was rushed out after his election. Vatican lawyers also demanded 15 percent on sales plus €3,500 (US$4,200) in legal fees, Tosatti said.

In Lev's defence its spokeswoman, Francesca Aida Bucciarelli, cites Tosatti's own preface to the book: "Everything you will find, from the end of this introduction on, belongs to the pen and voice of Joseph Ratzinger". Tosatti said the demand for payment "seems to go against the very spirit of the church". Bucciarelli concurred that publishers have reprinted encyclicals in the past, even though the Vatican issued a similar copyright decree a month after John Paul's 1978 election. "But not only did they not pay for the rights, they were making money off it!" she said.

Copyright: an Islamic perspective here, here and here
Copyright: a Jewish view here
See what copyright did to the Messiah here

Latest Copyright World

The IPKat's February issue of Copyright World , published by Informa, has just surfaced from beneath the pile of bills that inevitably follows his end-of-year excesses. What's in it, you ask? The answer is
* "Feeding the Frenzy", by the IPKat's former colleague Rajita Sharma together with Cynthia Kernick (both of Reed Smith). This is nothing to do with piranhas. Rather, it's a bit of friendly advice on what to do (and not to do) if you plan to make commercial use of a celebrity shot or still;

* "Copyright Goes to the Ball", by Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer IP associates Paul Joseph and Giles Pratt. This piece seeks to review the key copyright cases of 2005 on the premise that copyright, the Cinderella of intellectual property, has taken centre stage.

* Martin Kretschmer (Professor of Information Jurisprudence at Bournemouth University) asks what you do with rights you don't need, questioning the validity of the old "more is better" knee-jerk philosophy.
The IPKat can't help wondering: if you have IP rights, you don't have to use them - but if you don't have any, you don't have the option of neglecting them either.

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