back to article Vatican awards self 'unique copyright' on Pope

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 …


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  1. Geoff Mackenzie

    Er, way too late

    Don't they realise that I'm a Discordian Pope?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presumably ...

    ... redeployment of the redundant staff from the Limbo division has allowed an expansion of the copyright office.

    Control and revenues must be maintained, it says so in the bible.

  3. JaitcH

    Ever heard of King Henry VIII?

    King Henry VIII has already told the Roman Catholic Church to take a hike,

    Presumably this latest self-serving proclamation from Rome should be taken with equal disdain,

    Instead of co-opting the property of the congregations that make up that particular church, the Pope and his coterie would be better employed in keeping the preachers out of the pants of the children in their care.

    I, for one, will totally ignore this decision.

    Pontifically yours, Pope

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Henry VIII was no pope...

      When it comes to potential child molesters, everyone knows that it's parents, siblings, close relatives, in-laws, etc. that are the biggest risk to children - priests are way down the list, as are teachers and scout leaders as a matter of fact.

      And at least the pope isn't doing this:

      Change the name. Not that big of a deal.


      Sent from my iPhone

      1. JaitcH
        Thumb Down

        So why have so many been covicted?

        That children and 'natives' have been abused is beyond question.

        And what of the small skeletons found in monasteries and attributed to children born to nuns?

        No, the Pope has plenty on his plate without trying to co-opt the property of others.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Thumb Down


        unlike most families (unless your name is Fritzl) the church "family" has not done it best to protect the pedo priests, moving them from parish to parish when they are accused.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    who exactly is this "pope" person and what's his/her importance in the world?

    1. JaitcH
      Thumb Down

      Who is the pope?

      He is one of a long line of men whi fancy they have the best connections to heaven.

      Every one is a plageriser since they all pinch the name pope. They are hypocrites, as well, and take it upon themselves to detail how human sexual activities are to be conducted (also known as the 'Missionary' position which provided entertainment to much of the audiences).

      This instruction is given by a man who, unnaturally, allegedly never has consummated such acts.

  5. MeRp

    Wait! Wait!

    They can't copyright the current Pope's image... there's prior art. In fact, they are lucky Lucasfilm isn't already suing theme for their obvious infringement of the Emperor Palpatine's image!

    1. Daemon ZOGG

      Wait! Wait! → # "..infringement of the Emperor Palpatine's image!"

      Couldn't have said it better myself! LOL. Your right about the whole Emperor Palpatine theme.


  6. SimpleUser

    Oh my God!


  7. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton


    "you'll obey its 'copyright' in an effort to avoid spending the rest of your life wallowing in guilt."

    It was my understanding that if you wanted to avoid spending the rest of your life wallowing in guilt, you stopped being Catholic.

    I think the actual threat here is you'll have to do penance. Unless violating the Pope's copyright is a Mortal sin...

    Paris, because I assume she'll play ball and refrain from wearing counterfeit papal vestments.

    1. Bassey

      Stop being Catholic - avoid guilt

      Doesn't work. They just feel guilty about their lapsed Catholicism. I knew one woman who, I swear, if she ever accidentally found herself being happy, would immediately suffer pangs of guilt for having nothing to feel guilty about. Forget the sexual abuse, Ireland has been abusing every child raised there for nearly 1,500 years by forcing this shit down their throats.

      (yep. married an Irish ex-Catholic.)

  8. Forget It

    In the beginning was the Word

    and the Word didn't need copyright.

    In fact, the Bible is an early veresion of Copyleft!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      ...I remember the Word.

      That Terry Christian was a right plonker.

  9. Aaron Em


    Trademark? I'd *love* to see the prior-art claims on that one.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Pope © Vatican 2009

    Paris because, well... she likes his zucchetto®.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm the Pope

    And so is my wife.

  12. Maty

    prior art

    The pontificate was one of an ancient school of priests in pre-Christian Rome. Whilst hijacking other items (including the Saturnalia, which became Christmas) the Pope claimed for himself the office of Pontifex Maximus, the head priest. The Christian Pontiff did not take charge of the Vestal Virgins, a perk which originally went with the job.

    Nevertheless, the term 'pontiff' was in use long before anyone had ever thought of being Catholic. but then I guess people were using windows long before they became a trademarked operating system.

  13. Christoph

    Tough luck

    "The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England"

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick
      Black Helicopters

      Ha, take that

      The Pope wears Balmoral Tartan pajamas, with feet !

  14. SimpleUser

    @ AC, 19:18 GMT

    wasn't that always a 'Him' ? Can't be a 'She', can it ??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Absolutely correct

      There's a special Papal chair, sedia stercoraria, which is/was used to display the papal scrotum and contents to the appropriate cardinals who would proclaim : ‘testiculos habet et bene pendentes 'testiculos habet et bene pendentes’ (he has testicals and they are well hung)

      Would never do to have a woman in power in the Catholic church!

  15. Peter 43

    Fire and damnation.

    You're all going to hell for this, dog told me this morning... Remember: "If Jesus saves, he'd better save himself from the glory glory seekers who use his name in jest..." Oh, wait, it's the pope...

    1. Daemon ZOGG

      Fire and damnation. #

      Classic! LOL!

  16. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Other churches already do

    I believe that DRM (Digital Rabbi Management) is already used to stop illicit copies of Lionel Blue.

    It might make Mr Paisley's speeches a little tedious if he has to say "tm" at the end of each denunciation.

  17. RW
    Big Brother

    What about the Coptic pope?

    The Coptic church has had popes several hundred years longer than the RCs.

    I wonder if anyone in the frescoed halls of the Vatican was aware that this kind of thing merely induces laughter and makes the RC church ever more a risible target of sarcasm.

    Given the retrogressive spirit of the current incumbent in Rome, I can easily imagine him lying awake at night wondering how the papacy can recover its temporal authority.

    Big Brother since there's no "Big Papa" icon.

  18. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Pontifical notice

    As soon as I can find the time I'm gonna generously sprinkle some "Pope", "pontifical" and assorted coat of arms everywhere I can (beginning with my websites for example). Oh and ain't I a lucky chap, holiday ahoy! Plenty of time thanks to the end-of-year festive period...

    Pontifical beer all round.

  19. Number6


    Presumably the enforcement will be the use of lightning bolts against transgressors?

    I guess that means we have to modify some well-known saying and end up with "Is the bear a Catholic". On the bright side, no need to check for faeces in the woods.

  20. Scott Broukell

    I'm just F*kcd off with ....

    religion ruling our lives all day, every day, every where. IMHO it is a criminal offense and abuse to cram religious belief into the minds of children. I would suggest that the age of 16 years is a more appropriate age to allow people to MAKE THEIR OWN MINDS up. Whilst I am an atheist, (did you guess) I would agree that learning about these myths and legends, sorry theological beliefs, is an important part of the general education that children should receive.

    (SOS rant over - enjoy the winter solstice every body).

    1. John Angelico

      Hey, you...

      ...Northern geographist, you!

      Stop displaying your geographical bigotry - we're enjoying a summer solstice down here!

      No coat: too warm...

  21. John Savard

    What about...

    Is this going to cause any problems for the various Orthodox churches? And, of course, when speaking of the Pontifex Maximus, there could also be secular claimants to the throne of Caesar.

  22. playtime

    Who's pope?

    Set Cerebus the Aardvark on him

  23. Gabor Laszlo

    "great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father."

    See icon.

  24. Pablo


    Wouldn't that be more like a trademark?

    I can understand where they're coming from a little bit though. Any time I've visited a Catholic country I seen the Pope's picture all over random pieces cheap plastic junk. So I don't blame him for wanting to either put a stop to it or get a share of the profit.

    1. Bobsch


      I'm betting on B.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So when required to confirm the blindingly obvious...

    ...can I still say, "Is the Pope Jewish?"

  26. Hollerith 1

    so now what...??

    What can sh*t in the woods while a bear is Catholic?

  27. J 3

    attribute credibility and authority

    I for one would consider any credibility and/or authority of a project diminished if it was associated with the Pope or his pedophile-protecting organization. For such an irrelevant bunch, they have way too much power in the world still, politically.

  28. Joe 3

    John Lennon

    It's a bit like any piece of John Lennon merchandise, where you'll find "John Lennon is a registered trademark of Yoko Ono Lennon" printed on it somewhere...

    "The Pope is a registered trademark of the Holy See. Not to be used without divine permission."

  29. Eddy Ito

    Just to be clear

    We can still pontificate about the merits of the reverse cowgirl over the missionary position when it follows the pagan feast of the corpus cavernosum right?

  30. PunkTiger

    Ceci n'est pas une Pope.

    Carole Pope of Rough Trade should have something to say about that.

    ...not to mention Sinead O'Connor.

  31. Captain Save-a-ho

    In honor of Papal Abstention...

    I demand a new unit of measure from El Reg, known as pope, to describe the amount of hot air exhausted by sheep traveling in a vacuum. Or something similar.

    Mine's the one dripping with sarcasm...

  32. Al Jones

    Never let the facts get in the way of bigotry

    The statement issued by the Vatican doesn't use the word Copyright. The article that the Reg references even uses quotes around the word to indicate (somewhat perversely!) that it isn't an actual quote from the Vatican statement.

    The only significant element of the referenced article that the Reg leaves out is the bit that explains that this "crackdown" (oops, now I'm using quote marks to indicate a non-quote!) is aimed at "attempts to use ecclesiastical or pontifical symbols and logos to "attribute credibility and authority to initiatives"".

    In other words, initiatives aimed at a Catholic audience, by people/institutions that probably don't want to get in a shouting match with the Vatican.

    It took less time to find the original statement on the Vatican website than most of your bigoted posters took to write their posts.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: bigotry

      I think you'll find that "for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church." hardly describes "initiatives aimed at a Catholic audience, by people/institutions that probably don't want to get in a shouting match with the Vatican."

      And it took me less time to find that statement than it took you to write your post (You'll note that I refrained from using the word "bigoted" here. It was hard but I won't be the one reaching the Godwin Point, especially while talking about the current Pope: too easy, given his interesting youth)

    2. John H Woods

      @Al Jones

      "It took less time to find the original statement on the Vatican website than most of your bigoted posters took to write their posts."

      Yep, that's why their comments were worth reading, and yours wasn't.

  33. Daemon ZOGG

    'unique copyright' on Pope

    We don't need no stinkin' Pope. . .As if we need the Vatican's permission to get into heaven or something. The people of the world could reduce the entire Vatican to a pile of dust, and it wouldn't change the fact that God will always be God, the son of God will always be the son, and the apostles will always be who they are.

    The Vatican cannot copyright or trademark the holy cross, the image of the holy spirit or anything representative of the holy spirit, or the son of the holy spirit. The Vatican is simply a regional corporate representative for the church on planet Earth. We already know where "HQ" is.

    We will deal with the Vatican the same way we deal with other copyright overlords... "P2P". ;p


  34. David 45


    Presumably if the pope's name is quoted without permission, you will burn in hell come your own personal day of judgement. What a load of plonkers.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm off to setup my pope-ona-rope stand. Makes a perfect gift!

  36. heyrick Silver badge

    So what?

    I'm agnostic. WTF do I need to be worrying about the "Pope" for?

    That they think he needs "copyright" (haha, EPIC FAIL for not knowing the difference between copyright and a trademark) just shows how desperate the Catholic organisation has become.

  37. Paul Donnelly


    Don't I recall something about 'bearing false idols' or 'holding false idols'.... and how that was bad, m'kay? Isn't this that?

  38. Stephen 10
    Black Helicopters

    So which'll be the first country to recognise this?

    Because you know they will. Looking forward to the court cases.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Feel free to register...

    "thepopemolested" domains...plenty free

    can't wait until they launch a lawsuit claiming owner ship of

  40. Ahaa!!!
    Black Helicopters

    Suprise suprise

    A lot of jeering comments on the ability of the Vatican to enforce the Copyright. Bet you will be suprised when the Spanish Inquistion pays a visit.

    1. Sally 4


      Of course we'll be surprised because...

      NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four* *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

      Thank you Monty Python.

  41. Anonymous Coward



    Lets look.

    Catholics vs Protestants

    Christians vs musilims

    Sunni's vs Shia's

    Jews vs Muslims

    Sikhs vs Muslims

    Taoism vs Daoism

    Athiests vs Agnostics?

    So remind me again, who decides they don't like someone purely based on their religion? Yes atheists have commited mass murder aginst religous groups but you don't see atheist killing atheist because they don't like their version of atheism.

    Heck, most people are so blinkered they can't even accept Mohammed and Jesus could be the same person! Huge chunks of the Bible and Qu'ran have to many similairites to be mere coincedence, maybe people should look at the similarities between the religions instead of butchering and bikering over the differences.

    Me i don't give a crap, so long as you don't bug me.

    1. Brutus

      Time travel?

      "Heck, most people are so blinkered they can't even accept Mohammed and Jesus could be the same person"

      IIRC, they are both independantly historically documented (i.e. other than their PR pieces) people separated by about 600 years, so it's not a case of being blinkered, just a case of not believing in time machines.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge


        Independently documented? I must have missed that. The earliest surviving documents mentioning Jesus date from several decades after his death and were written by his followers. There are no historical records worthy of the name that he ever existed.

        On the other hand, there are even *fewer* suggestions that he and Mohammed are the same figure. (Yes, "fewer". I take the ramblings of an evident moron to be negative evidence.)

        1. Alan 6 Silver badge


          Actually there are a few mentions of Jesus in various Roman histories.

          Suetonius mentions the name 'Chrestus', which is debated whether he actually mean Christ...

          Pliny the Younger doesn't mention Christ directly, but shows by his writings that Christianity was already widespread by 110 CE and the Christ was their object of worship.

          Thallus attempts to explain the darkness which covered Judea at the time of the crucifixion as a natural event of a eclipse - this is significant because it shows that the details of the crucifixion were widespread enough in the 1st century so that non-Christians would contest them.

          Probably the earliest pagan testimony to Jesus was a letter written by Mara bar Saraption to his son. He mentions the Jews killing their 'Wise King'.

          One could suppose that he was influenced by Christians, but some of the other things he wrote (that Jesus lives on in his teachings, rather than because of resurection) show that his opinion was formed more by non-Christians.

          Tacitus mentioned Christus, who was put to death by Pontius Pilate. Most philologists will admit the authenticity of this passage. Also there are obvious anti-Christian tones, and a failure to mention the ressurection, which makes it implausible to be of Christian origin. Also the importance in this passage is that it mentions that Jesus died under the authority of Pilate, as said in the gospels.

          Many rabbinic sources mention Jesus in a more hostile way.

          Although Josephus contains some Christian interpolation in it, it cannot be thrown away completely, because the interpolation may only have changed some details and the general tone of that passage. This can be seen because Josephus later on mentions James as Jesus' brother in a way that would assume that he had already talked about Jesus himself (the language he uses presupposes previous knowledge of Jesus.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Atheist vs atheist...

      "Yes atheists have commited mass murder aginst religous groups but you don't see atheist killing atheist because they don't like their version of atheism."

      You're clearly not up on the history of the USSR then.

      Soviet Communism is a secular, atheistic political philosophy. Much like the religious, theistic philosophy called Christianity, Soviet Communism underwent a significant amount of schism.

      In a very real sense, they killed Trotsky because his atheism didn't match Stalin's.

      1. Adam Azarchs

        I still have a problem with that

        Crimes committed by atheists are not automatically crimes committed in the name of (or because of) atheism, any more than crimes committed by catholics can automatically be blamed on Catholicism. While some crimes certainly are committed in the name of religions (or lacks thereof) that doesn't mean all are.

        Besides, soviet communism was as much of a religion as anything that called itself as such by the time Stalin got done with it.

      2. unitron

        Re: Atheist vs atheist and Stalin vs Trotsky

        "In a very real sense, they killed Trotsky because his atheism didn't match Stalin's."

        Yeah, Stalin considered himself to be God and Trotsky was a threat because he didn't agree.

        On an almost totally unrelated note, I bet Chairman Mao's little black book would have outsold the red one.

    3. keddaw
      Dead Vulture

      Atheists don't kill each other?

      Are you kidding? We do it all the time, just indirectly. When I say have a smaller state and let the poor rely on charity of others I am indirectly asking to allow poor people to die on the streets. If those poor are socialist and atheist then they want state help yet I have killed them for having a different branch of atheism than me.

      All of which makes the atheist tag redundant, I killed them because they were socialist and I was a libertarian.

      Headstone, just had to be.

    4. steward


      "Mohammed and Jesus could be the same person!"

      Outside of the Christian scriptures, there is not much evidence of Jesus. The same is not true for Mohammed.

      Also, if you've actually read large chunks of the Qu'ran, you're aware that that book itself refers to the two as separate people, with Jesus coming from a time before Mohammed.

    5. Swarthy Silver badge

      Flogging a dead horse and all....

      Jesus & Mohammed were very different people, with very different styles. Jesus's attempts at gaining power were political (Yes, he was trying to revive the line of Jewish Kings, he was executed (preemptively) for treason against Rome, not for Heresy or because of religious persecution) Whereas Mohammed took a more direct route of conquering the places he wanted to rule.

      However, I will cough to the fact that the Qu'ran and the Bible have a lot in common. But you are remiss in that you neglect to mention how much the Talmud shares with both. This is because all three are, in fact, related. They are the Abrahmic Tradition.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next year we would have been millionaires Rodney

    That's me ruined. I have a warehouse full of novelty Pope-on-a-rope soaps, novelty Pope John Thomas condoms and cassocks with easy access velcro flies.

  43. MinionZero

    There is a darker side to this news...

    From a legal point of view, in some countries its still hard to censor something (free speech) but you can censor anything critical via copyright. So from that legal stunt point of view, now read their comment ...

    i.e. "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 copyright as a means to censor trick is being used a lot more these days by many groups. The concept of “Fair Use” seems to be getting suppressed (I guess partly because the music and film companies are fighting so hard to make copyright ever stronger and as a result one of the casualties is the concept of Fair Use free speech, but then free speech is also under attack, from many groups trying to censor and control people).

    That means for example, any cartoon is now in violation of copyright and so can be effectively censored via a copyright claim. Also for example, if someone makes a funny cup or toy with a cartoon pope, they can also be censored via copyright. So anything that tries to be fun or critical can be censored.

    Copyright is becoming a legal back door for many groups (and companies) to achieve their real goal, which is to force censorship onto people.

    Legal moves like this are allowing powerful groups to force censorship onto everyone via an intentional twisting of the concept of copyright law. Copyright is being turned into a way to censor critics and critics rarely have the legal power (or money) to fight against the legal ruling, so the world is sliding towards yet another way to censor critics. Wonderful, as if we don't have enough problems already with the relentless slide towards an Orwellian world. :(

  44. dervheid


    I happen to enjoy a regular pontification, have done for years, as anyone who has read my posts before will know (ok, not many people then). Point being, I will continue to pontificate as and when I feel like it (and obviously as and when the moderatrix permits ;-P), and no-one's religious order is going to stop me from doing so. You didn't get this kind of abject silliness from the previous management, backward steps all the time, IMHO.

    As for all this talk of religious intolerance, don't get me started on all of that.........

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Hypothetical question

    "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,"

    So I couldn't say, hypothetically, that the Pope and the entire office of the Supreme Pontiff were entirely full of pontifical crap and should shove their idiotic ideas up their collective pontifical butts, without checking it with the Holy See first?


  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do as I say, not as I do

    Right, so we have to obey the rules of some allegedly infallible human's sycophants but it's alright for these sycophants to disregard their own proclamations?

    and worse

    There's even a support group for the victims of these hypocrites (SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh heavens know, but hell yeah

    If I was Pope there would be no explicit sex on TV. I would probably get a bunch of slaves to do everything, Norwegian Lesbians that feed me grapes and know how to sing.

    And if they nail my pimple arse to the cross, I will just tell them I have found Jesus that will throw them off, he goes by the name of Hasus and steals hub cabs from cars. 'Cooey, Hasus can I borrow your crowbar?', to pry these God damn nails out they are beginning to hurt, crucified and I all I got was this lousy T-Shirt.

    So vote for me for saviour and you will go to heaven. But, would I be a good Pope with my low self esteem, if I don't believe in myself am I looking at excommunication?

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't bother me at all.

    I'm an agnostic dyslexic insomniac.

    I lay awake all night wondering if there really is a dog

    (I'll get my coat)

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Both the person *and* office of the Supreme Pontiff ...

    ... suck Pontifical donkey dick.

    And I will never kowtow to anyone's demand that I ask permission before saying so!

  50. Dave Walker

    Crocodylus Pontifex...

    "...The Spaaaace PooooPe!"

    I wonder what he would say

  51. Stef 1

    Legal Fail

    (@ MinionZero as well)

    The Holy See has obviously never bothered to read the Berne Convention and understand it, despite duly signing it 'some time ago' (12 September 1935, for the curious).

    For shame, since it would have saved itself a bit of (further) embarassment.

    Holy Hand Grenade, because there's no rolleyes icon.

  52. PT

    In the immortal words of Tom Lehrer...

    "Do whatever steps you want if

    You have cleared them with the Pontiff

    Everybody say his own kyrie eleison

    Doin' the Vatican Rag"

    Just make sure and get the clearance first.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Now it's stuck in my head! Damn you!

      Step into the small confessional

      There the man who's got religion'll

      Tell you if your sin's original

      If it is, try playing it safer

      Drink the wine and chew the wafer


      Time to transubstantiate

  53. Neil Stansbury

    Prior art?

    Hmm wouldn't there be a case for arguing prior art - like 1300 years prior art from the first Pope...

  54. Stevie


    There goes that DVD boxed set of "The Dave Allen Show" then.

    On the upside, no more Tarot cards in W.H.Smith!

  55. Matt 130

    Hijack the Pope

    It's a shame because I really wanted to see the media quit using "tsar" to describe anyone in a position of authority. I think "Pope" would have been such a worthy replacement.

  56. asiaseen

    We're all sinners

    "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,"

    So this article and the whole thread is in breach of pontifical copyright?

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