Vatican Warns of Unauthorized Merchandise Crackdown
While Pope Francis has been a popular and relatively accessible face of the Catholic church, Vatican officials are looking to crack down on the wide spread of Pope Francis merchandise, like T-shirts.
The Vatican said that it will "protect" the pope's image, and wants to "stop situations of illegality that may be discovered," according to SaukValley.com.
"The secretary of state will undertake systematic surveillance aimed at monitoring the way in which the image of the Holy Father and the emblems of the Holy See are used, intervening with opportune measures when necessary," the Vatican said in a statement.
The Vatican has enlisted Baker McKenzie, a global law firm, to help protect its intellectual property rights.
"The pope's image rights are no different from those of any other famous celebrity, and so it's not surprising that the Vatican is giving notice that it will protect its (intellectual property) rights as necessary," Nick Kounoupias, the founder of an intellectual property consultancy in London, told SaukValley.com. "What will be interesting to see, however, is how vigorously these rights are pursued, given who the IP owner is."
Vatican officials reportedly are concerned that members of the church will think the church is making money from the merchandise, while the creators are cashing in instead.
The problem suddenly facing the Vatican is the huge scale to which merchandise can be created. In the internet age, it's easy for people to create items and sell them all over the world with ease.
The Vatican did not specify how it plans to battle the sale of unauthorized merchandise.
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