https://www.snopes.com/ap/2021/05/25/va ... ting-sued/
A lot more at the link.Vatican Issues a Street Art Stamp, Ends Up Getting Sued
One night in early 2019, Rome street artist Alessia Babrow glued a stylized image of Christ she had made onto a bridge near the Vatican.
Published 25 May 2021
ROME (AP) — One night in early 2019, Rome street artist Alessia Babrow glued a stylized image of Christ she had made onto a bridge near the Vatican. A year later, she was shocked to learn that the Vatican had apparently used a reproduction of the image, which featured Babrow’s hallmark heart emblazoned across Christ’s chest, as its 2020 Easter postage stamp.
Babrow sued the Vatican city-state’s telecommunications office in a Rome court last month, alleging it was wrongfully profiting off her creativity and violating the intent of her artwork. The lawsuit, which is seeking nearly 130,000 euros ($160,000) in damages, said the Vatican never responded officially to Babrow’s attempts to negotiate a settlement after she discovered it had used her image without consent and sold it.
“I couldn’t believe it. I honestly thought it was a joke,” Babrow told The Associated Press in an interview, standing steps from St. Peter’s Square. “The real shock was that you don’t expect certain things from certain organizations.”
The Vatican is home to some of the greatest artworks ever made, and it vigorously enforces its copyright over everything from the Sistine Chapel to Michelangelo’s Pieta. But now the tables have turned, and the Vatican stands accused of violating the intellectual property rights of a street artist.
Basically what happened is that the chief of the Vatican stamp office took a photo of what he assumed was graffiti and decided to use it, Every one of the higher ups thought it was a fantastic idea. Then they got sued by the street artist.
Unfortunately they have gone into silent defense mode rather than sorting this out with the artist, probably assuming (correctly) that anything they would do or say would be spun as being wrong.
I would say, honestly, that the Vatican does not have much of a case.