Papal Copyright Goes to Vatican Publishing House

Includes Writings of Benedict XVI and Joseph Ratzinger

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2005 ( The Vatican Publishing House henceforth will officially oversee the copyright of the writings of the Pope and the magisterial works of the Holy See.

The publishing house will also assume similar control over the books and documents written by Joseph Ratzinger, the Holy See announced today.

For his part, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, today issued a decree in which he entrusted the Vatican Publishing House with «the exercise and protection, in perpetuity and for the whole world, of all the moral rights of author and of all the exclusive rights to economic utilization, without any exception or exclusion, of all the acts and documents with which the Holy Father exercises his own magisterium.»

In carrying out this commission, clarified the decree, the director of the Vatican Publishing House, at present Salesian Father Claudio Rossini, «acts in the name and interest of the Holy See,» being able to take recourse even to courts in the case of violation of rights.

Moreover, Cardinal Sodano issued a statement saying that 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.»

The statement adds that, «without prejudicing the rights acquired by third parties concerning contracts 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.»

55 books in German

In statements to ZENIT, Father Rossini explained that shortly after being elected Pope, John Paul II also entrusted to the Vatican Publishing House the rights to the works he wrote as Karol Wojtyla.

«The difference is that, with Cardinal Ratzinger, we are faced with a very large quantity of books,» the priest said. «A publishing house in Germany told me that there are more or less 55 in German, while in Italian, scattered in bookstores, there are around 43 volumes.»

According to the new decree and the new statement, whoever wishes to publish books or anthologies of Ratzinger’s or Benedict XVI’s texts will have to ask permission from the director of the Vatican Publishing House.

Father Rossini said that part of the royalties of Benedict XVI’s and Ratzinger’s works, as was the case with John Paul II, are allocated to charitable works.

The Vatican Publishing House can be contacted at

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