Freethinker Sunday Sermonette: in the beginning was copyright protection

Via microdot at The Brain Police I learned of the latest intellectual(?) property/trademark claim. Popedom:

The Vatican has awarded itself a "unique copyright" on the Pope's name, image, coat of arms, and any other symbol or logo related to the Holy Father.

"The use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff...and/or the use of the title 'Pontifical,' must receive previous and express authorization from the Holy See," reads a statement released by the Vatican on Saturday morning, the Catholic News Agency (…) reports.

Wow. I hied myself immediately to the Catholic News Agency for further details:

The Vatican made a declaration on the protection of the figure of the Pope on Saturday morning. The statement seeks to establish and safeguard the name, image and any symbols of the Pope as being expressly for official use of the Holy See unless otherwise authorized.

The statement cited a "great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father" in recent years as contributing to a desire to use the Pontiff's name for all manner of educational and cultural institutions, civic groups and foundations.

Due to this demand, the Vatican has felt it necessary to declare that "it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorized use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church."

The declaration alludes to attempts to use ecclesiastical or pontifical symbols and logos to "attribute credibility and authority to initiatives" as another reason to establish their “copyright” on the Holy Father's name, picture and coat of arms. (CNA)

Let's see. The reasoning is that Il Papa is loved so much that The Vatican needs to prevent his name being taken for ulterior motives? I wonder if the Church knows this? Will the Mass be DRM'd?

But perhaps there is Biblical Authority for this. I remember when I studied Greek one of the first sentences I learned was from John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word . . . ," which in Greek reads, "Hay archay, hay logos" (my transliteration; I didn't feel like fussing with Greek in HTML).

That's pretty clear. In the beginning were the logos.

More like this


By Pope Uncle Gle… (not verified) on 10 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wait - Revere, you studied Greek? You must be an older fart than I am. I only had to learn German - and I never did (of course, I didn't graduate, and went into a different field, although I did manage to translate a synthesis of cocaine from German when I was a sophomore).

By Pope Uncle Gle… (not verified) on 10 Jan 2010 #permalink

Pope Glenny (so sue me, Vatican): Actually in high school I studied Latin. After I graduated medical school I decided I wanted to learn some classical Greek and took a year's worth. At one point I could actually read Plato, but that point is long, long ago. I remember some, that sentence being some of it, but don't send me any ancient texts. You'll be very disappointed. I also studied Russian for two and half years before I studied Greek and the alphabet is pretty much the same so I had a leg up. I won't say exactly how old I am but I receive single payer health care.

Wouldn't the logos be in the public domain, given their age? They precede "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" by a good few years! :)

When I first heard about this it sounded like they didn't want the Pope's name or likeness used to sell things, but the excerpts you have here make it sound like you aren't supposed to use his name at all . . . any legal types here who can explain what this law does?

Like the new Irish blasphemy law, I have the overwhelming urge to break this immediately.

A poorly written article for sure, maybe the CNA should upgrade the quality of their news staff. I am pretty sure they mean trademark and not copyright. Many religions have registered trademarks.

"Religious organizations frequently use trademark law to protect their identity. For example, trademarks are source identifiers that allow consumers to associate the trademarks with images, lifestyles and even beliefs. Because consumers make associations between beliefs and trademarks, religious organizations use the legal protection trademark law affords to their marks.

While religious organizations seek protection by using trademark law, the law cannot always adequately protect the religious organizationâs identity"

Nothing here really. Move on kids and Huegenots.

Man, pft, you are one pontifical killjoy! I was cranking up all sorts of juvenile slurs using Benedict the Dick's name until I read your comment.

His Holiness Pope Phooey the First

Life imitates art. Here's the 15-year-old satire this news story reminded me of:

MICROSOFT Bids to Acquire Catholic Church
By Hank Vorjes

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- In a joint press conference in St. Peter's Square this morning, MICROSOFT Corp. and the Vatican announced that the Redmond software giant will acquire the Roman Catholic Church in exchange for an unspecified number of shares of MICROSOFT common stock.

If the deal goes through, it will be the first time a computer software company has acquired a major world religion.

With the acquisition, Pope John Paul II will become the senior vice-president of the combined company's new Religious Software Division, while MICROSOFT senior vice-presidents Michael Maples and Steven Ballmer will be invested in the College of Cardinals, said MICROSOFT Chairman Bill Gates.

"We expect a lot of growth in the religious market in the next five to ten years," said Gates. "The combined resources of MICROSOFT and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people."

Through the MICROSOFT Network, the company's new on-line service, "we will make the sacraments available on-line for the first time" and revive the popular pre-Counter-Reformation practice of selling indulgences, said Gates. "You can get Communion, confess your sins, receive absolution -- even reduce your time in Purgatory -- all without leaving your home."

A new software application, MICROSOFT Church, will include a macro language which you can program to download heavenly graces automatically while you are away from your computer.

An estimated 17,000 people attended the announcement in St Peter's Square, watching on a 60-foot screen as comedian Don Novello -- in character as Father Guido Sarducci -- hosted the event, which was broadcast by satellite to 700 sites worldwide.

Pope John Paul II said little during the announcement. When Novello chided Gates, "Now I guess you get to wear one of these pointy hats," the crowd roared, but the pontiff's smile seemed strained.

The deal grants MICROSOFT exclusive electronic rights to the Bible and the Vatican's prized art collection, which includes works by such masters as Michelangelo and Da Vinci. But critics say MICROSOFT will face stiff challenges if it attempts to limit competitors' access to these key intellectual properties.

"The Jewish people invented the look and feel of the holy scriptures," said Rabbi David Gottschalk of Philadelphia. "You take the parting of the Red Sea -- we had that thousands of years before the Catholics came on the scene."

But others argue that the Catholic and Jewish faiths both draw on a common Abrahamic heritage. "The Catholic Church has just been more successful in marketing it to a larger audience," notes Notre Dame theologian Father Kenneth Madigan. Over the last 2,000 years, the Catholic Church's market share has increased dramatically, while Judaism, which was the first to offer many of the concepts now touted by Christianity, lags behind.

Historically, the Church has a reputation as an aggressive competitor, leading crusades to pressure people to upgrade to Catholicism, and entering into exclusive licensing arrangements in various kingdoms whereby all subjects were instilled with Catholicism, whether or not they planned to use it. Today Christianity is available from several denominations, but the Catholic version is still the most widely used. The Church's mission is to reach "the four corners of the earth," echoing MICROSOFT's vision of "a computer on every desktop and in every home".

Gates described MICROSOFT's long-term strategy to develop a scalable religious architecture that will support all religions through emulation. A single core religion will be offered with a choice of interfaces according to the religion desired -- "One religion, a couple of different implementations," said Gates.

The MICROSOFT move could spark a wave of mergers and acquisitions, according to Herb Peters, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Baptist Conference, as other churches scramble to strengthen their position in the increasingly competitive religious market.

By mistah charley… (not verified) on 11 Jan 2010 #permalink

I think the correct translation is:
in the beginning was the logic

anon: First, the remark was "tongue in cheek" (this doesn't mean that my tongue was in my cheek; it's an idiom meaning facetious and not literal). Second, as to the "correct" translation, I gave the translation of this phrase as conventionally and historically used in English. It is a famous English phrase but indeed there is no exact translation for the classical Greek word "logos" (which doesn't mean logic but a more mystical version of the essence or deep inner truth of things). As Freud might have said, "sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar."

"deep inner truth" = logic (?!)
when you try to consider truth objectively you come
to logics.

BTW. John Barry started his book with this theme
and Faust's translation, that's how I learned about it.
Word --> Thought , which he thinks describes American
health-science in ~1920