A Vatican statement on the Pope’s copyrights

A Vatican statement on the Pope’s copyrights

You may have seen the following statement put out today by the Vatican press office:

COPYRIGHT FOR PAPAL WRITINGS TO VATICAN PUBLISHING HOUSE VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father has entrusted the Vatican Publishing House with the exercise and protection of the copyright and of all exclusive rights to economic utilization of the acts, works and writings written by him prior to his elevation to the Chair of Peter. A communique made public today, and signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, also states that, “without prejudicing the rights acquired by third parties concerning contacts already concluded with the author, from now on the Vatican Publishing House is also entrusted with the exercise and protection of the copyright concerning contracts still in force”.

Here’s my own personal take on it. Don’t take this as coming from Ignatius Press. I have not asked anyone there or consulted with them in any way. That said, it doesn’t look like any kind of attempt to get out of his contract with Ignatius Press. Recall that they have a contract for the English-language rights to his books and writings, while this communique deals with his worldwide copyrights.

All it means is that because Benedict is Pope, his business affairs are now those of the Vatican. Rather than having to deal with such contracts himself, personally, they will now be handled by the appropriate Vatican office. Note that it says all contracts remain in force.

It probably also means that any future books, unless they were already in the pipeline, will be published by the Vatican under contracts similar to those used when publishing John Paul’s books.

Again, these are all suppositions and I do not know anything more than any of you about the exact details.

  • This looks like it is nothing more than the assignment of the assignable rights.  He’s changing his literary agent and publisher for future works.

  • Exactly.  I don’t know why, frankly, it is even news.  I suspect it has only gotten attention because many don’t understand copyright or contract law.