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The Vatican Might Be Planning to Copyright the Pope’s Image

A Pope bobblehead is one of many Pope Francis themed souvenirs for sale at White House Gifts before the Popes first official visit to the United States in Washington, USA on September 21, 2015.A Pope bobblehead is one of many Pope Francis themed souvenirs for sale at White House Gifts before the Popes first official visit to the United States in Washington, USA on September 21, 2015.
A Pope bobblehead is one of many Pope Francis themed souvenirs for sale at White House Gifts before the Popes first official visit to the United States in Washington, USA on September 21, 2015. Photograph by Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Vatican has warned that it wants to “protect” the image of Pope Francis in order to “stop situations of illegality that may be discovered,” a move that could put a stop on a range of unofficial, Pope-themed merchandise.

According to the Associated Press, a statement by the city-state hints at protecting its intellectual property, which includes the crossed key emblem of the Holy See as well as pictures of the Pope. They have gone as far as hiring Baker McKenzie to help protect its intellectual property rights, reports local daily Corriere della Sera.

“The secretary of state will undertake systematic surveillance aimed at monitoring the way in which the image of the Holy Father and the emblems of the Holy See are used, intervening with opportune measures when necessary,” the Vatican said in a statement, seen by Associated Press.