copyright question over ICEL texts
  • I think I know the answer, though it really astounds me, but consider the following. You have put together a booklet of music and this booklet contains music in Latin for parts of the sung Mass, just as a help. You would want include the English just as a guide, so you face a choice whether to include the official trans or a literal or poetic trans. This booklet will also be made available for purchase, via print on demand.

    Reading through ICEL's copyright page, it seems that even if their text is only 10% of the whole product, and even if the idea is not to market the text but merely to provide a helpful translation that is actually used every Sunday, and most people have committed to memory, they want tribute of 1%, meaning that you have to have a big accounting system and send them money, even if it is only 20 bucks a year or whatever, and even pay a penalty fee if you are late. Faced with this choice, who wouldn't just use some other translation, even if it would be slightly disorienting to people.

    There seems to be no workaround to this problem. ICEL clearly says: "Any publication produced for sale which contains ICEL translations is subject to a royalty or flat fee."

    Am I missing something?
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Alas, no. You are quite right.

    You may pay tribute now, or a penalty later. It's just that simple.

    Frankly I would just take the translations out of the 1628 Book of Common Prayer. Those aren't copyright (and can't be). Especially since the texts won't really be spoken aloud, but rather only used as a reference, I don't think you are under any obligation to use the official (and often inaccurate) renderings.
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    I probably shouldn't even type this in a public forum, but I wondered what ICEL's take on a certain psalter project would be, (in fact, I stayed up all night downloading and printing when I first discovered it, lest the copyright police had spirited it away by morning.)

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World!
  • By the way, I've sent this post to permissions at ICEL and we'll see what they say.
  • Jeffrey Tucker wrote:
    even if the idea is not to market the text but merely to provide a helpful translation that is actually used every Sunday, and most people have committed to memory,


    If you are speaking of the texts of The Lord’s Prayer, Kyrie Eleison, Gloria in Excelsis, The Nicene Creed, The Apostles’ Creed, Sursum Corda, Sanctus and Benedictus, Agnus Dei, Gloria Patri, Te Deum Laudamus, Benedictus, Magnificat, or Nunc Dimittis, they may be used free of charge, with the proper notice. See Englishtexts.org

    [post edited to make link live]

    Blessings,
    Paul
  • No, it would also include "private property" texts such as: "My brothers and sisters, to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries,
    let us call to mind our sins," as well as owned intellectual property such as the words "Let us pray."
  • Ok, I've received a reply from ICEL. But it comes with a request that I not post it.

    After all, emails are copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years. I'll put it in a vault so that my great grandchildren can read it.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I suppose, Jeff, I have to ask the obvious question: why would you WANT to use the ICEL translations? You say you want people to see what the Latin says, but ICEL can't do that. At my church we use the Latin Roman Canon for the highest occasions (sung too) and I started using the English Missal translation, adjusted for the Ordinary Form. For the antiphons I use an old Missal, but if I were picky I'd use the scripture from the RSV or something. When it comes to handouts, there's nothing preventing us from writing the lyrics to "Come Sail Away" and passing it off as a translation, especially since it'd be better than ICEL.
  • Mainly because they are familiar. Of course they are also changing...
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Jeffrey - have you considered working with your pastor to include some articles in the parish bulletin about the various translations and of those yet to come? Perhaps people will understand that there can be several translations that are not necessarily wrong even if the words differ.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Ok, I've received a reply from ICEL. But it comes with a request that I not post it.

    LOL - you couldn't make it up if you tried.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I guess the question is should we include translations so that people know what's being said or so that they see "oh this is like what we always do just in a different language". I used to think the latter, but realized that people miss out on the beauty of the liturgy BECAUSE of ICEL. And ICEL furthermore IMPAIRS comprehending the Latin! Let me demonstrate:

    Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, eiusdem Christi, Filii Tui, Domini nostri, tam beatae passionis, necnon et ab inferis resurrectionis, sed et in caelos gloriosae ascensionis: offerimus praeclarae maiestati tuae de tuis donis ac datis hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam, Panem sanctam vitae aeternae et Calicem salutis perpetuae.

    Wherefore, O Lord, we thy servants, and thy holy people also, remembering the blessed passion of the same Christ thy Son our Lord, as also his resurrection from the dead, and his glorious ascension into heaven: do offer unto thine excellent majesty of thine own gifts and bounty, the pure victim, the holy victim, the immaculate victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.

    Look at the bolded phrases in both the Latin and English texts. They match up. People reading the English will hear those words and see the same in their translation; especially the "hostiam puram" part. Compare that with ICEL. When I read along with the Mass in Latin according to the ICEL canon, I just get lost because I can't tell where the priest is in comparison to the loose paraphrase (it sinks below the level of a translation) that ICEL wrote. Now I've said before that I'm not a fan of translations which overuse Latinized English, but in this case it just helps people follow the Latin, which, it seems to me, should be the point of having a translation available to the congregation when Latin is being done.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,151
    Did I hear someone say mixing business with church?
  • francis
    Posts: 10,151
    hmmmm. seems like we are talking a lot about copyrights lately and it seems to me that it presents nothing but an obstacle to being the church.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Gavin,

    You have a good point when you say that people miss out on the beauty of the liturgy BECAUSE of ICEL. English language cultures have produced deeply resonant examples of religious language, not the least in translation of Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic and Latin. ICEL is a mundane bureaucracy that fails to meet that impressive standard - and has the bad grace to demand payment for it.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    And I should clarify that I'm not condemning Jeff (or anyone else) for using the ICEL texts; I'm not one to ever say "only do it my way". I'm just trying to point out why I don't think the ICEL texts are worth the copyright issues involved for a Mass program.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Gavin,

    Spot on.
  • I have to wonder how many parishes in the US produce weekly service leaflets with music and words covered by those annual reprint licenses from GIA and OCP. I then have to wonder how many of them realize that those licenses DO NOT cover ICEL texts?!? How many people actually take the time to weekly apply for permissions from ICEL for the Mass and responsorial psalm response texts they reprint?

    More to the point, does ICEL have the resources to process that kind of high volume of requests every week? Does ICEL offer an online service for reprints? Do they have an annual license option? I'm guessing the answer to each question is "no." I'm also guessing that if every parish that prints weekly leaflets were to flood the ICEL offices with copyright permission requests, two things would happen: 1) they wouldn't be able to handle the flood due to inadequate staffing, and 2) they would then have little time to produce the ugly, clumsy, awkward translations they foist on the English-speaking parishes of the world!
  • Oh, you don't have to ask for one-time events. Only things in print for sale.
  • Ok, so I've ,posted on this more

    In a comment thread on a previous post, someone mentioned that the Book of Common Prayer, even the most recent edition, is in public domain to encourage the widest possible use, at no charge. That makes sense. We are, after all, talking about a religious text the words of which are the common property of the whole world. If someone wants to claim ownership over a particular edition with new material, that's another matter, of course.

    Living in the Catholic world in which tribute, a liturgy tax, must be paid to International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) for printing the text of the Mass, even for simple musical settings for distribution outside a single event (and I'm going to stop laying out all the technicalities here, else I would have to reprint ICEL's own textual minefield in full), this news about the BCP is rather interesting.

    Sure enough, the commentator is right: here, here, here, here, and probably a thousand other places. Many people are able to sell it in different formats, and even profitably. No disaster has befallen the liturgy as a result. Compare those links to this one.

    In the same way, of course, the text of the 1962 Missal is free for all, as are most supporting materials.

    That leaves the ordinary form of the Roman Rite as the exception, and it is a very serious one, given that new texts are are going to be issued that will require musical settings. Catholics will not be free to compose music and post it for free download or for sale without first and last paying ICEL. That gives a huge market boost to the established music publishers that are currently the big players in the market. What we have here is a monopolistic barrier to entry to the market that affects every parish and every Catholic.

    Why the ICEL tax? They say they need the money, more than the rest of us I suppose. But if a Church can't pay for the production of its own liturgical texts, I'm not sure what there is to say about that.

    Something needs to change, dramatically and quickly, about ICEL's copyright and royalty policies.
  • Having spent some time researching the RICO statutes at one time, it seems a rather questionable practice for the Catholic Church (ICEL) to charge a fee that blocks small publishers...and indeed individual parishes of the Catholic Church...from printing the text of the Holy Mass while it profits by the sale of the Mass Texts through OCP, which is also the Catholic Church...and of course OCP undoubtedly has to pay major fees for the use of the texts to ICEL which is the Catholic Church.

    As someone once said to me, "The Diocese is concerned that _______________ parish might default on the money they borrowed from the Diocese to build that church." Well, since the Diocese OWNS the church if the parish were to default on the loans....what would happen? The Diocese would get possession of the church...which they already own?

    My question is this: Is the Italian Translation of the Holy Mass also copyright? If it is not, that would open some doors to challenge this unfair control over commerce in the United States....
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    lol frogman!
  • And here is an interesting loophole from ICEL's Royalties document:

    ICET/ELLC TEXTS
    ICET texts are texts that have been produced by the International
    Consultation on English Texts, an ecumenical body of which ICEL was a
    member. These texts have been revised by the successor to ICET, the English
    Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC). The following is a list of these
    texts:
    The Lord's Prayer Agnus Dei
    Apostles' Creed Gloria Patri
    Nicene Creed Benedictus (Canticle of Zechariah)
    Kyrie Te Deum
    Gloria in Excelsis Magnificat (Canticle of Mary)
    Sursum Corda Nunc Dimittis (Canticle of Simeon)
    Sanctus/Benedictus
    The texts, whether in their original form (1975) or as revised by ELLC
    (1988), are in the public domain and as such do not require permission for
    reproduction. It is sufficient to acknowledge the source of the text, for example:
    English translation of the [insert title] by the International Consultation on
    English Texts or the English Language Liturgical Consultation.
    ICET/ELLC texts employ not only sense lines but also special
    indentations, all of which were worked out after extensive discussion and
    agreement by the representatives of the various church bodies. ICEL cannot be
    11
    a party to any violation of the integral texts agreed to in good faith by the
    participants in ICET/ELLC. Except in the case of musical setting of the
    ICET/ELLC texts, ICEL strongly recommends that the special format of the
    texts prepared by the participants in ICET/ELLC be followed. The ICET texts
    of these prayers and information on their translations are contained in "Prayers
    We Have in Common," second edition, which is published by:
  • ICEL didn't have the guts to change the "Thy" in the Our Father. I wish they had left the "Thee's" and "Thy's" in the other prayers.

    My understanding is ICEL has said people are too dumb to understand what "Thy" means.

    But then why did they leave it in the Our Father? Does that mean people cannot understand the Our Father?

    I believe that language directed to God should be "higher" than common, ordinary language, like, "Hey, wassup, Mary?" instead of "Hail, Mary"

    Pius XII said language should be lofty if used in Church.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    It is worth noting that the ICET/ELLC text differs slightly from the ICEL currently in use, for example in the Agnus ("sin of the world") and Sursum Corda ("it is right to give our thanks and praise").

    Strangely, in Canada our official hymnal (yes, we have one) uses the ICET/ELLC texts rather than the ICEL texts. This results in the strange situation that in Canada the texts differ slightly at Mass depending on whether they are sung or spoken.
  • Yes, this again underscores the fact that ICEL's copyright/royalty policies actually create an incentive to change the text (See Mass of Creation)
  • Another >post on this topic:

    The letter from Cardinal Arinze posted here presents the framework for the new Mass texts. It specifies that the purpose is, in part, to "facilitate the devising of musical settings for the parts of the Mass." It further specifies that the text is under copyright and so it is subject to "all pertinent copyright legislation in civil law" in accordance with the statutes of ICEL.

    Many composers might at first feel a sense of excitement here that the Church is asking for their creative contributions. But then they look at the ICEL rules that Cardinal Arinze rightly says are enforced by the state. It turns out that ICEL demands a tax--this is the right world since the payments rely on coercion--be paid for any settings that are posted for more than one-time use. The taxes go higher if the music finds a market.

    There are only a few publishers prepared to pay this tax, understand the accounting rules, and can bear the costs associated with compliance. We need to appreciate just how afraid of these rules that most musicians really are. They will compose and let these pieces sit on their harddrives rather than post them. That leaves only the established music publishers in a position to distribute appropriate musical settings.

    So we see here that Cardinal Arinze's two principles are at odds with each other: it is not possible to facilitate widespread and faithful musical settings of these texts under ICEL's current copyright/"royality" rules. There is a simple workaround: make these texts open source. They can use Creative Commons or even conventional copyright while eliminating the tax on publishing with broad permissions granted de facto. This is how the ordo of service for every other denomination handles matters, so far as I know. Changes are essential if the monopolistic forces currently impeding progress are not addressed. The status quo is not suitable.

    Right now, ICEL's rules say nothing about digital publication or online distribution, almost as if they are made to apply to a world that disappeared ten years ago. There is an opportunity right now for ICEL to issue a clarification. If that clarification does not assist in permitting widespread creation and distribution of new musical settings, there is a case for some sort of intervention.
  • From the ICEL Contract...


    6. PUBLISHER shall pay to PROPRIETOR the following royalties: royalties
    These are in addition to any royalties required by the Administrazione dei Beni
    della Santa Sede for use of the Latin text from which the TEXT is derived.

    Interesting........

    16. Upon termination in accordance with any provision of this AGREEMENT,
    all materials supplied by PROPRIETOR and all plates and other means of making
    the LICENSED WORK, within the control of PUBLISHER, shall be delivered
    without charge to PROPRIETOR or its designee and PUBLISHER shall have no
    claim to compensation for PROPRIETOR'S use or disposition thereof or for sales
    of the LICENSED WORK. Notwithstanding the termination of this
    AGREEMENT, PUBLISHER shall remain liable to PROPRIETOR for all unpaid
    royalties or other monies due or to become due and any damages.

    So you agree to pay them royalties...and when they terminate the agreement on you, they get everything you created and get to sell it themselves....


    19. This AGREEMENT shall be governed by and construed in accordance with
    the laws of the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

    Makes sense until you read:

    APPENDIX
    THE ICEL CONTRACT (EXAMPLE)
    AGREEMENT between International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc.,
    90 Parent Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 7B1, Canada (hereinafter called
    PROPRIETOR), and name of publisher (hereinafter called PUBLISHER).


    So a Canadian corporation expects performance under the laws of a United States...city....sort-of-state...or whatever D.C....oh, a DISTRICT!

    But not under Canadian law where they are a registered corporation?

    That REALLY creates a can of worms as they then have the ability to sue you simultaneously in the US and Canada....effectively more than doubling your legal fees....
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 312
    Hey, look what was posted on the USCCB website yesterday:

    http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/missalformation/
  • I've sent an open query to ICEL
  • Jeffrey,

    Please forgive me if I missed this in another post (I didn't see anything about it after a cursory search)...

    When the initial drafts of the gray book translation were posted, I heard rumors of people beginning/continuing their work on adapting the chants to the new English translations (the ordinaries, the Kyriale, etc.). Do you know the status of good adaptations in the works? Surely such copyright issues will affect whose adaptations are widely published and adopted, but if we have a grass roots effort at quickly adopting *good* ones, maybe there is hope to inject some of the chant melodies before modern adaptations take over for another several decades...?

    I would love to see/hear some of the adaptations in progress too (and even help set them to square note notation too!). Of course, I don't want to jeopardize the composers' legal status either based on violation of copyright to see the text. :-P

    In Christ, -Bro. Matthew, osj
  • I suspect that whomever writes the music for the Missal will be competent. The results will be excellent. But you might also just write ICEL and volunteer!
  • urli
    Posts: 35
    Maybe choristers and people will have to learn music and texts off by heart, so that the music can be published and distributed without having the text underneath? It sounds ever so Shakespearean (which is quite ironic!).
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Alas, it isn't just in the liturgy: http://www.boarsheadtavern.com/archives/2008/08/06/1063020.html Translators may not be selling indulgences, but I say this stuff is just as wicked! I'm anxiously awaiting the reply to Jeff's letter to ICEL - assuming they don't restrict his freedom of speech again!
  • Leland
    Posts: 32
    I'd (being a Baptist; we're known for our prooftexting ;-)) ask the ICEL, if you charge exorbitant fees for the use of required sacred texts by people who are not seeking to make any money from their use of them, how are you any different from the estates of Rodgers and Hammerstein? (Matthew 5:47b, in the KJV "…what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" It sounds unchristian to me.

    Leland
  • G writes:
    "I probably shouldn't even type this in a public forum, but I wondered what ICEL's take on a certain psalter project would be..."

    Well, mathematically speaking, if the profit on a certain psalter project is zero (like the project I think you're referring to), ICEL's take would be zero, as any percentage of zero is zero.
    BMP
  • I received my first round of answers from ICEL, a question about how many visitors are hosted onthe site on which these new pieces would posted. I explained that it could be many or few, depending and there is no way to know. then I restated my question.

    We'll see.
  • "Maybe choristers and people will have to learn music and texts off by heart, so that the music can be published and distributed without having the text underneath?"

    Good idea! Perhaps every other word could be printed underneath . . .
  • Good idea! Perhaps every other word could be printed underneath . . .


    Or we could go the old Hebrew way and just use consonants...

    "nd wth yr sprt"

    "I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat."
    "I'm sorry, you don't have enough money..."
  • Or we can use the old BCL's way of thinking and use the modern chat room method...

    "n wit ur spirit"
    "LOL"

    BMP
  • Ok an answer from ICEL. Thoughts please!
    Dear Mr. Tucker:

    Your letter of 5 August requesting permission to post musical settings of the newly-released texts of the Order of Mass online for free download was passed on to me by my assistant Jason McFarland.

    As you know, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy was established by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments as a Mixed Commission in service to the Conferences of Bishops that use English in the celebration of the Liturgy. As a result, permissions granted by ICEL for use of its texts are contingent on the authorization of the publication in question by the Conference(s) of Bishops in those territories where the publication is to be distributed. Various Conferences have been discussing the important issue of the timeline for catechesis on the implementation of the new Missal translation and the production of materials to aid in the reception of the new translation. It is our understanding that an implementation date for the publication of the Order of Mass texts will need to wait until the translation of the entire Missal has been approved by the Conferences of Bishops and the approval has received the recognitio of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The schedule for release of musical settings of the Order of Mass, therefore, will be established by each Conference of Bishops. It is possible, however, that some Conferences will decide to allow for publication and release of musical settings of the Order of Mass before the entire Missal has been approved. Should you wish, therefore, to proceed with your plans to make available online settings of the new translation of the Order of Mass, you first need to contact the national liturgy offices of those Conferences where you plan to make these settings available. Along with your request for authorization, you will need to submit a copy of the manuscript to the national liturgy office. In the United States you would need to write the USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship, 3211 Fourth Street, NE, Washington, DC 20017. Should you wish to proceed at this time, I will be pleased to send you a list of addresses of the various other national liturgy offices.

    When you have received authorization from the Conference(s) of Bishops, we will draft a permission granting the rights to publish within those territories in which authorization has been secured. For most non-commercial uses of ICEL material, no fee is usually charged by ICEL

    It may help you to know that ICEL is a non-profit organization, whose assets belong entirely to its member Conferences of Bishops. The Commission in its early days was funded by its member Conferences, each Conference contributing a share of the total sum in proportion to the number of Catholics estimated to reside in its territory. When income began to come in from royalties, surplus funds (which amounted to over two and one half times the original cost of establishing the Commission) were distributed in the early years to the Conferences, divided according to the same ratio as their contributions. In recent years, royalty income has been used to fund the long process of translation of the Missale Romanum. Thanks to this income, it has not been necessary to request any contribution from member Conferences. When income increases, as is to be expected with the publication of a new Missal, the surplus will again be distributed among the Conferences.

    The copyright ensures that the integrity of texts is preserved and that the rights of the Conferences to regulate their use are protected. The copyright is, therefore, a means of discouraging the issuance of inaccurate or unfinished or unapproved or unduly altered texts of the Church’s Liturgy.

    As you may know, the ecumenical ICET texts (Gloria in excelsis, Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, Preface Dialogue, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) were not under copyright, which partially explains changes made by individual composers to these texts.

    Should you have any questions concerning the ICEL publication policies, you may wish to consult the ICEL Web Site, www.icelweb.org. I will also be pleased to respond, as best I can, to any additional questions you may have.

    I thank you for your kind attention in these matters and wish you all the best.

    Yours sincerely,

    Peter C. Finn
    Peter Finn
    Associate Executive Director
    International Commission on English in the Liturgy
    1522 K Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20005-1202
    Phone: 202-347-0800
    FAX: 202-347-1839
    PFinn@eliturgy.org
  • My thoughts can be found here, but reprinted below:

    This highlight, which comes closest to answering the initial question, seems most ominous:

    “For most non-commercial uses of ICEL material, no fee is usually charged by ICEL.”


    To which I ask: “What do you mean by usually? Can you give an example of a where ICEL charged a fee for non-commercial use of their texts? Is there a formula to this determination, or is it purely arbitrary?”

    Another gem:

    As you may know, the ecumenical ICET texts (Gloria in excelsis, Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, Preface Dialogue, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) were not under copyright, which partially explains changes made by individual composers to these texts.


    The desire to avoid ICEL’s royalties would seem to be another partial explanation for composers to set the ICET texts, change or no change.
  • urli
    Posts: 35
    "The copyright is, therefore, a means of discouraging the issuance of inaccurate or unfinished or unapproved or unduly altered texts of the Church’s Liturgy."

    I'm not sure I can see the logic of this. Surely if the Vatican, or the local Bishops' Conference could publish the authorized texts on their website or in official books and any wobbly texts could be checked against those?
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    "The copyright is, therefore, a means of discouraging the issuance of inaccurate or unfinished or unapproved or unduly altered texts of the Church’s Liturgy."

    It never was before, was it?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Unfortunately, there is little recourse for breach of Canon Law. Imagine being able to sue the celebrant every time he says "The Lord is with you" (or worse), or omits the Creed, Gloria, or Penitential Rite when it is required. What if a class action suit were filed against all music directors who replaced the propers with an extra-liturgical song when it can be proven that they had the skill and resources to do otherwise? I do think having a copyright does (or should) protect against the kind of "Sing! Glory to God" kind of adaptations we have been forced to endure. Offering free use of copyrighted works does not grant permission to alter those works, as placing something public domain would.
  • "The copyright is, therefore, a means of discouraging the issuance of inaccurate or unfinished or unapproved or unduly altered texts of the Church’s Liturgy."
    I'm not sure I can see the logic of this. Surely if the Vatican, or the local Bishops' Conference could publish the authorized texts on their website or in official books and any wobbly texts could be checked against those?

    Exactly. Their argument doesn't make any sense.

    A publisher can publish altered words WITH OR WITHOUT the copyright described by ICEL. In either case, what they are doing is wrong, if they claim that their altered version is the official one.

    ICEL is trying to confuse things by talking about copyright. We all want them to have copyright on the official texts: that only makes sense. They would be idiots not to. But they need to have a copyright like all the other denominations.

    Royalties are the issue. Don't like ICEL change the issue.
  • "G writes:
    "I probably shouldn't even type this in a public forum, but I wondered what ICEL's take on a certain psalter project would be..."

    Well, mathematically speaking, if the profit on a certain psalter project is zero (like the project I think you're referring to), ICEL's take would be zero, as any percentage of zero is zero.
    BMP"

    The translation of the psalms used at mass is not by ICEL, but comes rather from the NAB translation of the Bible (which is also copyrighted, though not by ICEL). So I guess you would have to deal with the USCCB.

    Also, one can be penalized for using copyrighted materials without permission even if you do not make any profit or intend to do so. For example, if I photocopy an entire copyrighted book without permission, even if it only for my own use, I am violating copyright. In this case I am depriving the copyright owner of royalties because I have avoided purchasing the book. But even if you argue that you would not have purchased the book anyway, it would still be a violation of copyright. The bottom line is that violation of copyright does not depend on whether or not you make a profit (excluding, in the US, things copied for "fair use"). A copyright like the one ICEL has means that the copyright holder has exclusive use of the copyrighted material; the sole exceptions being explicitly laid out in the law. (There are different varieties of copyright out there, like the ones used on CPDL, but I'm talking about the standard one seen in books, etc.)

    I am not sure how an argument like this would work with regard to distributing free copies of music online that includes copyrighted words (as per the unnamed psalm website), but technically it would seem to fall in the same category. I'm not defending or criticizing current US copyright law, just pointing some things out.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,151
    this is exactly what i expected to read.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    rich_enough - It's not just a question of US copyright law. One Internet age issue will be which jurisdiction is responsible for the enforcement. If the composer is in New Zealand, host site in Bulgaria with mirrors in the UK and South Africa, and somebody downloads it in Detroit for a Mass in Toronto ... it's just going to get too complex. Copyright law is already one of the shakiest and most cumbersome sets of laws out there and it's only going to get worse.
  • "For example, if I photocopy an entire copyrighted book without permission, even if it only for my own use, I am violating copyright."

    I don't think that is correct. For instance, if I buy a book, and I want to keep it in good condition, I can copy pages for "archival" purposes, and keep my book somewhere safe (so the pages don't get damaged).

    This is also the case with CD's. When I buy a CD, I instantly make a copy of it and keep the original somewhere safe.

    My point is, we better not start to get into all the "what-ifs" of copyright.

    The bottom line is that copyright was never, never intended to protect words that (some of them) have been in the "public domain" for 4,000 years.

    A personal translation (that has substantial & unique differences from the hundreds of other editions) is a different issue.

    However, when that translation is mandated for use by the universal Church, and indulgences are attached to the text, it is evil and morally wrong for a company to try to make money off someone posting music that has that text on their website for free.

    Catholic musicians, according to Vatican II, have a right, duty, and obligation to compose settings for the text (which belongs to the Church).

    If the translators of Scripture are uncomfortable with this, they have no business allowing their translations to be mandated by the Church.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    "I am not sure how an argument like this would work with regard to distributing free copies of music online that includes copyrighted words (as per the unnamed psalm website), but technically it would seem to fall in the same category. I'm not defending or criticizing current US copyright law, just pointing some things out."


    The question is whether ICEL would charge a fee, and the above response indicates they wouldn't "usually." However, one must still seek permission.