Reproducing the Faith for Profit

Jeffrey Tucker is upset here and here because blogging colleagues caught the attention of church authorities in Washington and Rome about reproducing the pope’s encyclical in various formats.

What’s missing from his argument is that each of these bloggers makes a living in part through their web sites. One accepts donations. The other will work for you.

It was once explained to me that since my site does not take donations (and I do not accept them, by the way–give to your local parish or charity) and that I do not conduct work-for-pay through this blog, I can present church documents for “academic” purposes and discussion as long as I do not profit materially. I’m also careful to present material in an “inconvenient” format. Namely one that keeps the official internet version more convenient for use.

In other words, the Vatican and the USCCB want you to buy the book if you want the full feast.

One example: you readers know that I’ve looked at a few USCCB documents. I was given express permission within certain guidelines to present Fulfilled in Your Hearing and Built of Living Stones. Permission to treat Sing to the Lord was refused. A representative of the publishing wing of the USCCB was distressed that I had actually promised to treat the document (true) before I was given express permission to do it (also true). It seems that people do surf the net at their offices.

My friend Jeffrey makes arguments on copyright that may all be rather convincing and even quite moral. But his personal excitement and occasional outrage is not part of the current landscape of law, courtesy, and prudence.

If his friends want to spread someone else’s word, the usual practice is to ask politely. I don’t know why they wouldn’t.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Reproducing the Faith for Profit

  1. Charles says:

    Very good observation, T.
    I just had made some similar remarks over at PTB about JT’s enthusiasm clouding issues occasionally on the Smith thread.

  2. Brendan Kelleher svd says:

    The encyclical is available in multiple formats on the Vatican site including in an e-book format that has a download link in the bottom tray. I downloaded it as a PDF on the day of publication.

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