Pharyngula

The Papal figure is copyrighted

Seriously? The Vatican has just declared the Pope a legally protected icon. Don’t you dare use it in a cartoon, you vandals, or slap the holy name up on your soap-on-a-rope to gin up extra sales from the gullible.

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.

“Consequently, 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,” concluded the message released to the press.

i-a99e73aefa14f8621a1ae44c324f141d-pope.jpeg

How could I resist? I had a pen and the back of an old envelope, so I had to draw an official pontifical caricature. I suspect the Vatican is much more concerned about the fact that they aren’t raking in a cut on the money-making uses of the papal image than about satirical uses (although you never know — they’re a thin-skinned lot over there), but still…I had to get a lick in, with a completely unauthorized picture of the pope waving a big stick and waggling his spirit fingers at the world. In a small gesture of respect, I did take pains to draw his penis completely condom-free.

(via Infallible Failure)

Comments

  1. #1 Kathy Orlinsky
    December 21, 2009

    Does anyone reading this NOT have an urge to draw the pope?

  2. #2 Abdul Alhazred
    December 21, 2009

    Does this also affect the use of funny nicknames such a “The Zinger”? 🙂

  3. #3 detrius
    December 21, 2009

    I think George Lucas should actually sue the RCC for stealing Palpatine from him…

  4. #4 The Science Pundit
    December 21, 2009

    PZ,

    You forgot the blood-stained fangs.

  5. #5 Larry
    December 21, 2009

    The Pope

  6. #6 Zeno
    December 21, 2009

    Benny Hex is a copyrighted church icon? Jeepers!

    But PZ’s sketch is too generic. It could be any miter-wearing prelate. That includes all bishops and cardinals in addition to the pope. Besides, Catholic clerics usually wear sumptuous robes and PZ’s caricature is obviously naked.

  7. #7 Glen Davidson
    December 21, 2009

    Satire, of course, is protected under US Trademark and Copyright law.

    And it makes sense to protect it. For one thing, it prevents people from using it for fraudulent purposes.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  8. #8 vanharris
    December 21, 2009

    The Pope woke up early one morning with a huge erection. Thinking that it wasn’t very Catholic, he tried to get rid of it. Unfortunately, walking around the room, thinking about the Bible and even getting some fresh air on the balcony all failed to soften him up. With only one option left, he sat down on the balcony and did what needed to be done.

    Later, he was walking around Rome when a man with a camera approached him. “Hello, Mr Pope,” the man said. “Six o’clock this morning, on the balcony, I think you know what I’m talking about.”

    “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean,” the Pope replied.

    “Oh, I think you do,” the man retorted, “and 50 thousand will buy you the camera.”

    Worried and confused, the Pope paid up and took the camera.

    Back in the Vatican, one of the Pope’s aides asked about the camera. “A chap in town sold it to me for 50 thousand,” the Pope explained.

    “50 thousand?!” exclaimed the aide. “Wow, he must have seen you coming.”

  9. #9 Kome
    December 21, 2009

    Reminds me a little of how Scientology has their symbol copyrighted.

  10. #10 Glen Davidson
    December 21, 2009

    Satire, of course, is protected under US Trademark and Copyright law.

    By that I mean, of course, that your right to satirize the Pope, corporate icons, etc., is protected under the 1st Amendment.

    It’s not something that seriously detracts from free speech, IOW.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  11. #11 gr8hands
    December 21, 2009

    vanharris, that’s called “practicing his celibacy.”

  12. #12 tyaddow
    December 21, 2009

    The Pope has no clothes. How…appropriate.

  13. #13 burnett210
    December 21, 2009

    A little off topic… http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ needs a little dose of reality from the folks here. (re: Joseph and Mary billboard)

  14. #14 Sven DiMilo
    December 21, 2009

    I do like the detail lavished on his Pradas.

  15. #15 Alverant
    December 21, 2009

    That’s just silly. How much legal weight does such a declaration have in the US? Atheists should copyright their symbol and demand payment for every keyboard, printer, etc who uses the letter “A”.

    But I’ll do the RCC one favor, I won’t use the phrase “the Pope” anymore. I’ll call him by his real name Joey Ratz. That sounds tougher doesn’t it? Like someone who won’t put up with child molesting priests and who dumps said priests in the Mediterranean with cement overshoes.

  16. #16 jphands
    December 21, 2009

    If you read the original article, you could just be paranoid enough to think that what they mean to do is control any mentions / press releases they don’t like. Such as, for instance, stories about priest buggering children…….

    If the story mentions the pope or the vatican or possibly even the catholic church, and you take this crap seriously, you’d have to have the poop’s permission to publish.

    But I’m not that paranoid…..nope…..not me

  17. #17 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 21, 2009

    Does this mean I have to take down my Popemas tree?

  18. #18 Peter G.
    December 21, 2009

    Where are the fangs dripping with blood? You’ve got to have fangs dripping with blood. Otherwise that figure could be any bishop.

  19. #19 daveau
    December 21, 2009

    Well that’s just pontiferiffic!

  20. #20 Thebear
    December 21, 2009

    Somehow – the slogan: “Why buy into a lesser evil” came up in my head…

  21. #21 Moggie
    December 21, 2009

    Does this mean the Vatican is planning their own range of papal action figures?

  22. #22 sandlin.john
    December 21, 2009

    I thought copyright was for images and works already created. You can’t copyright someone elses depiction. Imagine if Ansel Adams copyrighted all future images of the national parks.

    They could trademark the likeness, but that would not do what they want either. What they want is to outlaw parody and satire of the Pope. They can only do that by outlawing parody and satire.

      A
      O
     -+-
      |
     / \
    ASCII POPE
    
  23. #23 ad6uy.anne
    December 21, 2009

    Well, darn. There go my plans for selling a pope-face Halloween mask.

  24. #24 dali_70
    December 21, 2009

    Only one critique of your illustration… where’s his gaudy dress? 😉

  25. #25 mattincinci
    December 21, 2009

    if they could sue over a cartoon then american atheists might want to check and see if their recent winter solstice greeting card is in violation …would be odd if american atheists suddenly got sued by the Catholic Church for copyright violations… yikes http://atheists.org/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=332

    note image in lower left hand corner of card LOL

  26. #26 Zifnab
    December 21, 2009

    Can anyone photoshop the Pope’s face onto this?
    http://doctorbulldog.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/mohammed-bomb-head.jpg

    Seriously, does this make the Pope the new Mohammed? Someone should inform the Dutch.

  27. #27 Sili
    December 21, 2009

    If they were serious they wouldn’t have misspelled Pope™.

  28. #28 godlesschick
    December 21, 2009

    Meh. Like I’d ever want to use an image of the guy aside from satire. Is this for the money? Don’t they have enough?

  29. #29 Paddy-O
    December 21, 2009

    Moggie @ #21

    Just reminds me of Eddie Izzard, I think in Dress to Kill talking about the superhero duo of Pope Man and Altar Boy.

    Playset complete with Popemobile and jesus discs for throwing at your enemies.

  30. #30 a.human.ape
    December 21, 2009

    Nice drawing but where’s the dress the pope likes to wear?

  31. #31 llewelly
    December 21, 2009

    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.

    Indeed. Many a latrine requires the Pontiff’s name just inside the foundation.

  32. #32 UXO
    December 21, 2009

    And it makes sense to protect it. For one thing, it prevents people from using it for fraudulent purposes.

    @Glen D: Surely you mean, other people also using it for fraudulent purposes? Considering the Catholic church is probably the single biggest fraud perpetrated on the human race?

  33. #33 Nemo
    December 21, 2009

    I’m pretty sure this attempt will go nowhere under U.S. laws. I can’t speak for elsewhere.

  34. #34 https://me.yahoo.com/a/zFSnogR1q98tV2Qof2K75e0scRHaLtXNjQH3BfrWVg--#52e74
    December 21, 2009

    Didn’t the bible mention something about not setting up icons to worship? Seems like copyrighting the pope’s image/seal kinda does that…

    Not that Catholics weren’t already heavily invested in iconography worship!

  35. #35 llewelly
    December 21, 2009

    Nice drawing but where’s the dress the pope likes to wear?

    vanharris explained the pope’s state of undress in a previous comment.

  36. #36 tsg
    December 21, 2009

    Under what law are they declaring this “legal protection”? Or is this just another rule that has no authority except over those who choose to follow it?

  37. #37 Epikt
    December 21, 2009

    He has such an angry expression on his face. Did somebody, somewhere in the world, just have sex and enjoy it?

  38. #38 ephemeriis
    December 21, 2009

    Anyone else getting a Scientology vibe from this?

    They use copyright aggressively to control who can say what about their organization.

  39. #39 Eamon Knight
    December 21, 2009

    Not to defend the Catholic Church, but the way I read that article, the intent is to prevent some random con-artist from, say, marketing some religious gimmickry and claiming that the Pope endorses it. The Church, you see, wants a monopoly on the con-artist-marketing-religious-gimmickry niche. It’s called “protecting the corporate brand”.

    It should go without saying that news, commentary and satire are protected usages — but expect Bill Donohue to be threatening copyright suits against Pope-mockers by this time next year.

  40. #40 Free Lunch
    December 21, 2009

    So the Roman Catholic Church wants to make The Pope into a trademark like The Superbowl and The Olympics. Yep, just another bloated product which has completely missed the value of the original purpose. Maybe the RCC will have The Pope brought to us by our favorite commercial products soon.

    Maybe entire services will be sponsored by the local car dealers and Wal*Marts.

  41. #41 lose_the_woo
    December 21, 2009

    Lousy depiction PZ. Was too much muscle tone. Should have used a thinner marker.

    Nice eyes though. Angry and sunken. I like that part.

  42. #42 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 21, 2009
  43. #43 mumonjmk
    December 21, 2009

    What the guy said about parody above. It proves the Pope has new things about which he can display his ignorance!

  44. #44 Kenbo
    December 21, 2009

    I prefer to think of this as the first step in an all-out media blitz to remarket the pope in a way that will appeal to the younger, more hip crowd.

    Like sponser a new NASCAR team (Popemobile will have a new definition) or some cleaning detergent (All New “Pope”, with sin-cleaning “Indulgences”, for that just-been-borne clean!).

    But that is the cynic in me…

  45. #45 qbsmd
    December 21, 2009

    Eamon Knight

    Not to defend the Catholic Church, but the way I read that article, the intent is to prevent some random con-artist from, say, marketing some religious gimmickry and claiming that the Pope endorses it. The Church, you see, wants a monopoly on the con-artist-marketing-religious-gimmickry niche. It’s called “protecting the corporate brand”.

    It should go without saying that news, commentary and satire are protected usages — but expect Bill Donohue to be threatening copyright suits against Pope-mockers by this time next year.

    When I read the article, I was wondering if Donohue has anything to worry about himself. He’s the one acting in the name of Catholicism without official support. Maybe we should all send the Vatican an email complaint about him and see how they react?

  46. #46 tsg
    December 21, 2009

    Not to defend the Catholic Church, but the way I read that article, the intent is to prevent some random con-artist from, say, marketing some religious gimmickry and claiming that the Pope endorses it.

    I don’t disagree this is their stated purpose. Their intent, however, I believe to be something other…

    but expect Bill Donohue to be threatening copyright suits against Pope-mockers by this time next year.

    Yes. That would be it.

  47. #47 Sven DiMilo
    December 21, 2009

    The Pope woke up early one morning with a huge erection.

    Wanna bet?
    About the “huge” part, I mean.

  48. #48 delphi-ote
    December 21, 2009

    I want this picture on a t-shirt!

  49. #49 Jayaram
    December 21, 2009

    #26 – a very quick and dirty photoshop work. Kindly excuse the lack of quality – but I didn’t feel like looking at that goofy face any longer than necessary.

    http://img502.imageshack.us/img502/6673/popebomb.jpg (Pope bomb image)

    http://yfrog.com/dypopebombj (Short link to the same image)

  50. #50 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnTAiIRbRIpbzIZTtwLDKEdcE21mgEUtpI
    December 21, 2009

    Idolatry!

  51. #51 lose_the_woo
    December 21, 2009

    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.

    So what’s next, patenting miracles and the exorcism “process”?

  52. #52 waynerumsey
    December 21, 2009

    Does it mean that songs like this are no good?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAG8-qPv8yU

    Electric Six also has an album titled “I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me from Being the Master.” The cover art is of an ominous octopus tentacle. Cthulhu anyone?

  53. #53 Citizen Z
    December 21, 2009

     

  54. #54 vanharris
    December 21, 2009

    Sven @ #47, the pope is a big prick, eh! Just the anti-condom campaign in Africa, (the vilest policy since other genocides), makes him a big prick.

  55. #55 Citizen Z
    December 21, 2009

    Not to defend the Catholic Church, but the way I read that article, the intent is to prevent some random con-artist from, say, marketing some religious gimmickry and claiming that the Pope endorses it. The Church, you see, wants a monopoly on the con-artist-marketing-religious-gimmickry niche. It’s called “protecting the corporate brand”.

    I can see that, as a trademark/”celebrity endorsement” issue. But wouldn’t he already be covered, if that’s what it’s about? Why a “declaration”?

  56. #56 33lp
    December 21, 2009

    “Consequently, the use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff… and/or the use of the title ‘Pontifical,…’

    Ha! I first misread that as “orifice of the Supreme Pontiff”.

    I suppose that’s just my brain filling in what my eyes missed with that which makes the most sense.

  57. #57 AdamK
    December 21, 2009

    What about the capos of all the other criminal organizations? Do they get copyrighted too?

  58. #58 badgersdaughter
    December 21, 2009

    “Vatican made a declaration…”

    They can hold their breath until they turn blue for all I care.

  59. #59 F
    December 21, 2009

    Fuck the Pope.

  60. #60 Flea
    December 21, 2009

    The reason behind this announcement is that an italian travel agency, specialised in sending pedophiles to 3rd world countries, was planning to use the Pope’s lovely tiara as a corporate logo.

  61. #61 Prince of Dorkness
    December 21, 2009

    New commandment # 2b: Thou shalt not take the name of the Pope™ in vain.

  62. #62 tsg
    December 21, 2009

    Fuck the Pope.

    I wonder how this declaration will affect my venture into PopeTM shaped vibrators….

  63. #63 blf
    December 21, 2009

    The Pope decrees copyright, trademark, and eternal ownership of Teh Athesit?. All uses and depictions, direct or indirect, of Teh Athesit? must first be clear with The Inquistion?. Failure to do so will result in a visit from The Inquistion?, being declared a hertic and nasty subhuman, excommunicated, and fed to burning stakes. (Children will be spared the burning stakes, at least until the priests tire of them or are feeling a bit peckish.)

  64. #64 Sili
    December 21, 2009

    I assume the Spanish are all diligently removing their crapping Papa™ crche decorations as we speak. (Sorry, I forget the name.)

  65. #65 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 21, 2009

    Has the Vatican even signed any of the appropriate copyright law treaties?

  66. #66 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 21, 2009

    Update: It is in fact a signatory.

    Hm, actually, in total fairness, isn’t the real problem what they try to do with this copyright? If they specifically use it to prevent frauds from trying to rip off catholics, there’s no real harm, right?

    Of course, if they attack satirical jabs at the Pope, then there’s an obvious problem, but..

  67. #67 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 21, 2009

    “I can see that, as a trademark/”celebrity endorsement” issue. But wouldn’t he already be covered, if that’s what it’s about? Why a “declaration”?”

    Actually, I’m pretty sure he’s not. In running through things in my head, they have control over whether you can claim SPECIFIC popes have claimed something kosher. This also establishes the OFFICE of the pope as well, so you couldn’t try and genericize it.

    To be perfectly honest, if they actually use the copyright as they claim they will, I don’t honestly see anything abusive about it.

  68. #68 Creature of the Universe
    December 21, 2009

    I just ordered a large Supreme Pontiff with extra pontifical cheese.

    Delivery.

    Waiting….

  69. #69 Electric Monk's Horse
    December 21, 2009

    The statement cited a “great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father” in recent years

    So just where is the statistical evidence to back up that little gem of a claim? How does one objectively measure “affection and esteem”? By numbers of illegitimate children fathered? Or offers to allow attempted fathering of illegitimate children? Or blow jobs received in the confessional? And if it’s up in recent years, why was it down before?
    This honestly sounds like a campaign to deal with dissent within the church by declaring (with no evidence provided) that Joe is more popular than JP2.

  70. #70 https://me.yahoo.com/hockey_bobs#06659
    December 21, 2009

    Holy Shit! Ratzi the Nazi is just pissed because he didn’t get any residuals for all those pope-hat paper airplanes my friends and I used to make in school (catlick, even). I am SO busted…

  71. #71 Miki Z
    December 21, 2009

    @#65

    Vatican City is signatory to both the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention. The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) owns the copyright on the Bible which Catholics priests use.

  72. #72 Gus Snarp
    December 21, 2009

    The statement cited a “great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father” in recent years

    Really? Funny, I sort of thought that the last Pope was much beloved than the current one. I also thought that the Catholic Church as a whole (of which the Pope is the symbol) was having serious popularity problems evidenced by declining church attendance and a lack of new priests.

    Seems more likely that they’re concerned less with love for the Pope, than with scorn.

  73. #73 DLC
    December 21, 2009

    “I was sitting in a temple, minding my own business, listening to a lovely Hebrew mass, when these papist persons plunge-in and throw me in a dungeon and shove a red-hot poker up my ass!
    Is that considerate!? is that polite!? and not a tube of preperation H in sight !”
    History of the World, Part I , Mel Brooks.

  74. #74 Gus Snarp
    December 21, 2009

    Does this mean we can’t use the word “pontifical”? Can we still pontificate? What about “primate”?

  75. #75 kev_s
    December 21, 2009

    We should copyright ‘Ratzi the Nazi’ before he does.

  76. #76 MetzO'Magic
    December 21, 2009

    Does this also affect the use of funny nicknames such a “The Zinger”? 🙂

    I prefer Pope PanzerFaust, though I personally can’t take credit for that moniker. It was a fellow Pharyngulite, but can’t remember who.

    And PZ… no opposable thumbs on your pope-y caricature? There’s a message in there somewhere, I’m sure…

  77. #77 NervousAboutAngels
    December 21, 2009

    Rat Bastard has always seemed suitable to me.

  78. #78 Harry Tuttle
    December 21, 2009

    I believe there’s prior art to be considered here. The Pontifical College, and the office of Pontifex Maximus, predate the Catholic Church by approximately 1,000 years.

    “Consequently, 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 if I wish to write about Gaius Julius Caesar’s religious duties in his role as Pontifex Maximus after 63 BCE – I have to get the Vatican’s approval?

    Let me consider that for just one se…. fuck you!

  79. #79 Will Von Wizzlepig
    December 21, 2009

    Hey PZ!

    I’ll give you $5 for your sketch of the pope, thereby making an illegal sale of the protected representation of the pope! After you sell it to me, I will hang it in a gallery as an illegally purchased, illegally displayed image of the pope. I am certain that the chain of amusement can extend far beyond this.

    Also, if you do sell it to me, can you add a word bubble above him with some curse words in it? Maybe just the F-word?

    Thanks!

  80. #80 Gregory Greenwood
    December 21, 2009

    detrius @ 3;

    ‘I think George Lucas should actually sue the RCC for stealing Palpatine from him…’

    Now I realise the two things that are missing from PZ’s illustration.

    The Sith robes and the force lightning.

    Where is Master Yoda when you need him?

  81. #81 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 21, 2009

    I gave a link to “Pope 0n a Rope” and it got held for moderation.

  82. #82 Electric Monk's Horse
    December 21, 2009

    So if I wish to write about Gaius Julius Caesar’s religious duties in his role as Pontifex Maximus after 63 BCE – I have to get the Vatican’s approval?

    No, it means that, if you can find any Roman law that even vaguely resembles copyright law, Julius Caesar can sue Ratzi. The fact that Julius is dead makes this slightly more difficult, but I’m sure we can determine his intentions by examining some chicken guts. Given the current makeup of SCOTUS, this has a better than 50% chance of success.

  83. #83 aharleygyrl
    December 21, 2009
  84. #84 Cuttlefish, OM
    December 21, 2009

    But… I’ve already written, mocking the Pope,
    They didn’t say yep, they didn’t say nope.
    My words are protected by copyright, too–
    The Pope better ask me, or I’m gonna sue!
    I’ll round up some lawyers–I’ll get a whole squad–
    And license a fictional character: “God”;
    A little bit different from Him of the bible,
    Enough that I’ll sue them, on charges of libel.

  85. #85 aharleygyrl
    December 21, 2009

    oops, i meant lampoon

  86. #86 MadScientist
    December 21, 2009

    I don’t think this is as stupid as people are making it out to be; it’s just typical action taken by anyone protecting a trademark. The Vatican isn’t prohibiting anyone from making fun of the pope; what they are stating is that they will not tolerate unapproved use of the papal insignias and the pope’s name and pictures for (chiefly) commercial purposes.

    For example, say I go around telling people I’m collecting money for PZ to support a scholarship to UM. Or maybe I post a pic of PZ on my site claiming some affiliation and asking for money. Even within catlick organizations you’d have, say, an orphanage sending out letters with the pope’s photo and coat of arms and a few quotes from the pope like “condoms promote AIDS” – all done without the approval of the pope. What the Vatican is saying is they don’t like it when scamsters do this, and they don’t like it even if catlick organizations do this without official sanction. There is nothing strange at all about this; businesses do this sort of thing every day.

  87. #87 aduzik.myopenid.com
    December 21, 2009

    Man, they’ve dropped all pretense of being something other than a for-profit corporation. In the old days, they made at least a minimal attempt to disguise it.

  88. #88 Kagato
    December 21, 2009

    Copyright Does Not Work That Way

  89. #89 Woof
    December 21, 2009

    I did take pains to draw his penis completely condom-free.

    And to scale, as well.

    (Bite me, BillDo!)

  90. #90 Kagato
    December 21, 2009

    Wow PZ, that’s a damn good likeness.

     

  91. #91 Rey Fox
    December 21, 2009

    Papas fritos, anyone?

  92. #92 sqlrob
    December 21, 2009

    If they specifically use it to prevent frauds from trying to rip off catholics, there’s no real harm, right?

    Then why bother with the declaration / law? You can already do that now, as trademark law stands.

  93. #93 badgersdaughter
    December 21, 2009

    But… I’ve already written, mocking the Pope,
    They didn’t say yep, they didn’t say nope.
    My words are protected by copyright, too–
    The Pope better ask me, or I’m gonna sue!
    I’ll round up some lawyers–I’ll get a whole squad–
    And license a fictional character: “God”;
    A little bit different from Him of the bible,
    Enough that I’ll sue them, on charges of libel.

    And after you’ve given it just a bit more thought,
    You’ll have proven a fraud case with malice aforethought.
    Courts of the highest will claim jurisdiction
    Over Auto-da-f vs. Fey Work of Fiction.
    The Pope will scream, “Says right here, ‘No gods before me!’
    How dare you enlighten the sheep who adore me!
    I’ll show you who’s boss in the sacred milieu!
    I’ll get you, my ‘fish, and your little ‘God II!'”

    (…quoth the Cuttlefish, “#$%^ you.”)

  94. #94 Pierce R. Butler
    December 21, 2009

    Obviously, the Holy See just isn’t getting enough commish from the cologne biz.

  95. #95 Cuttlefish, OM
    December 21, 2009

    Badgersdaughter! That was beautiful!

  96. #96 mythusmage
    December 21, 2009

    Considering that Pope Benny is a public figure, I doubt his likeness could be trademarked, much less copyrighted. As I understand it, trademark or copyright is applied to a specific expression, not to a generic representation. Expect the idea to get shot down toot suite.

  97. #97 badgersdaughter
    December 21, 2009

    Heh. Smell that? That’s the sweet smell of Cuttlefish-inspiration, Pope-mockery, and a nice glass of Egri Bikaver. A good combination, and all due to you having laid the groundwork. Wish I could come up with that sort of thing without prompting. 🙂

  98. #98 tsg
    December 21, 2009

    I don’t think this is as stupid as people are making it out to be; it’s just typical action taken by anyone protecting a trademark. The Vatican isn’t prohibiting anyone from making fun of the pope; what they are stating is that they will not tolerate unapproved use of the papal insignias and the pope’s name and pictures for (chiefly) commercial purposes.

    So they say. I don’t believe them.

  99. #99 efrique
    December 21, 2009

    He’s so cute.

    I am stealing that drawing to use with paper miniatures next time I need an evil cleric for roleplaying.

    It’s very similar in style to some of the paper-miniature figures in the Sparks Scrapbook (right hand column at)
    http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/cumberland.htm#fonts

    – particularly the Wizerd, Dworf, and Fiter (sic)

    (okay, so there’s some actually *good* ones around there too, but I kinda like stick figures.)

    That website belongs to the guy that designed the font that’s on the “Godless Bus” ads; Dirty Headline is the name of that font. He’s done a new version of the font, too. See:
    http://www.prismnet.com/~sjohn/blueroom.htm

  100. #100 monado
    December 21, 2009

    I don’t think you can copyright a public figure, can you? I mean, he’s not officially an entertainer. He’s the ruler of a small, anomalous state who chooses to issue press releases and to go out on his balcony to wave at crowds. That sounds like attention-seeking behavior to me. So how can he object if people mention him?

  101. #101 J Dubb
    December 22, 2009

    #86 has this right.

  102. #102 Colin
    December 22, 2009

    Does anyone think maybe there’s a long-term plan to cash in on Dan Brown’s (unfortunate) success?

  103. #103 tjgueguen
    December 22, 2009

    Okay, folks, this post has given me an idea. Let’s make this Draw the Pope Week. Here’s my contribution, alongside PZ’s to give people encouragement that they too can draw the Popel
    http://timgueguen.blogspot.com/2009/12/draw-pope-week.html

  104. #104 Forbidden Snowflake
    December 22, 2009

    Fuck the Pope.

    Sell the Vatican, fuck the Pope, save the world!

    Is there a complete listing of pope-euphemisms and nicknames?
    I know we’ve got:

    Pope Palpatine
    Nazinger
    Ratzi the Nazi
    Papa Ratzi [complete with a Lady Gaga song!]
    Joey Ratz

    What else? The list feels short.

  105. #105 Kristjan Wager
    December 22, 2009

    Don’t the Vatican’s lawyers know any history? In the past there were several popes at the same time (read up on the anti-popes), so to claim that it’s a title reserved for just one guy would be a hard sell.

  106. #106 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkhbFaPldRf0ICxVR4SUidAhdwBeu8-OY8
    December 22, 2009

    you drew it on the back of an envelope?

    didn’t you have a cracker left?

  107. #107 Richard Eis
    December 22, 2009

    Two things that puzzle me.
    One, i’m surprised the pope doesn’t already have trademarks to produce their own tacky range of cheap tat.
    Two, does the pope really want everyone to stop talking about him? erm…ok. I’ll never mention that slimy little toad unless i really really have to. The sooner he is forgotten about the better.

  108. #108 Glenn Davey
    December 22, 2009

    I want to publish an illustration or animation on the internet of the Pope engaging in gay sex with the “Prophet” Mohammed. (I don’t even like calling him a “prophet”, it dignifies their rediculous beliefs).

    Why? Not because that particularly arrangement says anything about the relationship of Christianity to Islam, but simply because I should be allowed to do such a thing without fear of personal harm.

    Who thinks this is a bad idea?

  109. #109 Glenn Davey
    December 22, 2009

    Who worries for their personal safety when discussing Mohammed in public using their real name?

  110. #110 MadScientist
    December 22, 2009

    @mythusmage: No, the (generic) pope’s image can’t be trademarked or copyrighted – certainly not in the US, Australia, or UK. Any specific image can be copyrighted and in the USA a specific image can form part of a trademark. I don’t know what all this talk about a law is – any laws passed by the Vatican are only enforceable in the Vatican City – they can’t even control the laws of Italy. I just see this as the Vatican making statements so that if they have to go to court over trademark issues they can show the judge evidence that they do in fact intend to enforce their trademark rights.

  111. #111 Richard Eis
    December 22, 2009

    Who worries for their personal safety when discussing Mohammed in public using their real name?

    That implies that we would want to do such a thing. Frankly telling any religious “shut up, you’re boring me” is perfectly within everyones rights. And should be nicely annoying enough without actually being defamatory (although no doubt they will imagine it is)

    Now that religion is fading, its a perfect time to start pushing the “ignore the loon gibbering on the street corner” phase.

  112. #112 Peter Ashby
    December 22, 2009

    Come back Dave Alan, we need you again.

  113. #113 arch_incubus
    December 22, 2009

    Probably not the most auspicious post but this makes me think of an old joke and I just can’t resist…

    Three young friends decide to go into the Catholic ministry; they are approved, and become: “Father Flarity, Father Sicola and Father Flannigan.”
    Years pass and promotions occur. It is “Bishop Flarity”, and “Bishop Flannigan”; but still “Father Sicola.”
    A few more years pass, and it’s: “Cardinal Flarity”, and “Cardinal Flannigan” — but still “Father Sicola!”
    His superior’s shoulders fell, he took a deep breath, looked down, then looked up again. “Well I’ll tell you. Your performance has been exemplary, the people all love you, you’ve certainly got all of the qualifications. But, you know, once you start advancing, there’s just no way of telling where you might end up. And face it, my friend, it just wouldn’t do at all, if someday we had a Pope Sicola…”

  114. #114 Cath the Canberra Cook
    December 22, 2009

    If “The Pope” is a banned phrase, I won’t care. We have plenty of other choices.

    Recently spotted here and elsewhere:
    Pope Palpatine
    Ratzi the Nazi
    Nazinger
    Joey Rats
    The Zinger
    Pope PanzerFaust
    Rat Bastard
    Pope Maledict

    My personal favourite is my own coinage, Benny the Rat.

  115. #115 Mark Eagleton
    December 23, 2009

    Sweet! My Popener just became a collectible. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebigreason/3240834276/

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