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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Robert Batastini on the Grail Psalter Licensing

From PrayTell (I think hearing GIA's side of this ongoing fracas over private ownership of the Church's official sacred text is of some importance, and it is all right to reprint it in its entirety. I still think Creative Commons would have been the way to go, but my understanding of copyright law is limited, plus my head is the world's largest repository of untruths and factoids. What's that word Damian uses for "WRONG"?)
The copyright on the Revised Grail Psalms (RGP) is held jointly by The Grail, England, and Conception Abbey, Missouri. Their contract with each other insures full protection of the Church’s interests in perpetuity.
They have jointly entered into an agreement with GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago, to serve as literary agent. GIA has the staff, experience and ability to efficiently perform this function. Furthermore, this relationship obliges GIA to act in the best interests of the The Grail, Conception Abbey, and the Church, or otherwise risk being in breach of the agreement resulting in the right of the copyright owners to pursue dissolution.
Because GIA is itself a publisher, there has been some negative speculation regarding its role in administering the RGP, and the relationship will most likely always be under a degree of hightened scrutiny. Understanding this concern, and being fully aware of the potential for favoring GIA’s publishing efforts in this regard, GIA has imposed a strict discipline upon itself, in order to guarantee that all publishers have an equal access to the RGP. Specifically, no composers have been given the RGP text, and not one word of the text has been set to music by the GIA editorial department. Not until the day the text is released to the public will anyone, including those associated with GIA, have the opportunity to work with the text. All that said, however, the final text has not yet been received from Rome, so that no complete accurate copy even exists. Only drafts are in hand.
The GIA web site contains a great deal of information as to the conditions for licensing the RGP, including when and by whom it may be used without a formal license. In brief, there will always be a royalty required whenever commerce is involved. In other words, if any revenue is received for the use of a publication—physical or digital, a percentage of that income will be collected in the name of the copyright owners. For all other uses specific conditions apply according to circumstances, and may result in either a fee for use, or gratis permission. GIA will license to all bona fide users on an equal basis, and will pay the same royalties for its own editions as will all other commercial publishers.
Royalties for liturgical and biblical texts have always been a part of the publishing of these texts. The Vatican assesses a royalty from the publishers of liturgical books. ICEL does similarly for its texts. The US Conference of Catholis Bishops requires a royalty for the publishing of the New American Bible Texts, as do the publishers of the New Revised Standard Version, The Jerusalem Bible—all used in Roman Catholic liturgy in various parts of the English-speaking world. The standards for assessing such royalties have long been established and are generally the basis followed by all. For licensing the RGP, the royalties will be thoroughly consistent with these establishes standards.
Finally, all revenue earned by GIA for administering the RGP comes from the assessed royalties, with no fees whatever charged to the end user.

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