Faculty Notes

Prof. Irina Manta Comments in International Business Times Story on Unauthorized Souvenirs of Pope Francis’ US Visit

Irina D. Manta, Professor of Law

How To Buy Pope US Visit Souvenirs: Popemania Spreads Despite Francis’ Message Of Anti-Capitalism
By Jackie Salo
International Business Times
September 25, 2015


Most souvenirs do not have authorization from the Catholic Church and run the risk of legal implications. In the United States, the pope is protected as a public figure under the right of publicity. The Vatican issued a copyright in 2009 on the pope but has no legal means to enforce control of his image across the globe.

“I doubt the pope generally wants to get embroiled in intellectual property disputes,” said Irina Manta, director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law at Hofstra University in New York. “That said, the risk of his initiating an action is likely higher if vendors claim false connections between him and products and services, especially ones of which he disapproves.”

Read the full article.