Pope Copyrights Speeches

Times Online (via BoingBoing):

For the first time all papal documents, including encyclicals, will be governed by copyright invested in the official Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The edict covers Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, which is to be issued this week amid huge international interest. The edict is retroactive, covering not only the writings of the present pontiff — as Pope and as cardinal — but also those of his predecessors over the past 50 years. It therefore includes anything written by John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII.

The decision was denounced yesterday for treating the Pope’s words as “saleable merchandise” and endangering the Church’s mission to “spread the Christian message”.

But that’s not the best part. The best part is this:

A Vatican spokesman said that the Holy See had to defend itself against “pirated editions”. The move is also aimed at “premature publication”. Journalists accredited to the Vatican are handed papal texts under embargo. The Vatican said that if embargos were broken in future not only would the journalist face sanctions but also his or her publication would face legal action.

Whew, and you thought the RIAA had problems! Perhaps we can expect the Vatican to launch a legal campaign, suing peer to peer users who share unlicensed messages from God?

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