Sunday, February 19, 2006

Catholic church to enforce its copyrights

The demand by the Vatican to respect copyright on the pontiff's writings and pay for their use has triggered 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.

Among those raising questions about copyright is Vittorio Messori, an Italian Catholic writer who co-authored Pope John Paul II's best-selling "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," as well as a book with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.

Messori predicted in an interview with the Turin daily La Stampa that the campaign will "terrorize" publishers and writers.

LEV says news organizations can quote from the pope's speeches, encyclicals and other writings without charge. They can also publish full texts for free provided they cite Vatican copyright, it says, but if a text is published separately, as Tornielli did in a book, payment is due.

LEV's Bucciarelli, in a telephone interview, said enforcing copyright helps ensure that the pope's writings are correctly reproduced.

[from FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press Writer]


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