Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Catholic circuit split on IP?

Via Howard Knopf of Excess Copyright comes words of dueling statements on intellectual property from, of all places, the Catholic Church.

First, from The Top. Today Pope Benedict XVI issued an encyclical titled "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth"), which contains the following statement:
On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care.
The Pope's words seem directed at pharmaceutical firms that charge what he views as excessive prices for drugs, but don't appear to be limited to that subject. Did he have the Jammie Thomas-Rasset verdict in mind?

But closer to home, the Knights of Columbus apparently didn't get the message to ease up on IP enforcement. In an instruction manual for confessions, the Knights offer various questions one is supposed to ask oneself before entering the booth, to make an "examination of conscience." Under the heading "You shall not steal," the guide suggests the prospective penitent ask him or herself:
Have I pirated materials: videos, music, software?
As a cafeteria non-Catholic, I think I am free to say that I prefer the approach of the Knights -- at least until the Pontiff clarifies his stance on use of Kazaa.


  1. What is sad in a way is the refusal of many who decry IP rights in third world nations to consider the possibility that a stable and predictable set of rules is an important consideration for businesses to introduce products into such nations.

    I well understand anti-IP sentiments as expressed by others such as techdirt and Against Monopoly, but at the same time I also understand how established businesses, large and small alike, actually make decisions about where to institute marketing and sales initiatives. In my experience reality trumps theory every time.

    M. Slonecker

  2. Ah maybe the Knights have forgotten that sacred of sacred commandments that every solicitor should stamp on the forehead of all clients .

    The 11th: Thou Shalt Not Get Caught.



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