Message from Mr.Barrie Schwortz, President of STERA Inc (The self-styled “Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc”)

Message from Mr. Barrie M. Schwortz,  Official Documenting Photographer for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) and now President of STERA Inc (described as a non-profit-making organization)

“We do not permit our high resolution files to be published on the internet.”

Link

Why not, Mr. Schwortz? What are you afraid of?  That folk might see things in those images that could dispel some assiduously-promoted ideas about the Shroud of Turin as constituting some kind of “enigma”  (see the last sentence of your “Mission Statement” below).

Oh, and why do we read that:  “…during the ensuing thirty years, Mr. Schwortz has accumulated an extensive collection of  Shroud-related materials. These include, in addition to his own items, the collections of five prominent  Shroud researchers, now deceased, who placed their materials under his direct care and control, plus other
collections pledged but not yet received. “?

Why should any Shroud-related material be under your “direct care and control”, Mr. Schwortz, or for that matter an organization called STERA Inc of which you are President, and to whom one is requested to contact personally  re “licensing and copyright” issues?

Correct me if I am mistaken, but I thought you were appointed as Official Photographer to the STURP team, the latter  a largely self-appointed consortium one gathers. You were  not appointed as Museum Curator in perpetuity, deciding who can and cannot access and/or publish crucial Shroud images and other material …

Your first duty to “education and research” , Mr.Schwortz, is to place all  STURP-related material into the public domain. Nobody should have to go cap in hand either to you or to STERA, Mr.Schwortz, far less pay any licensing or copyright fees, no matter how “modest” you may consider them (noting you are coy as to your scale of fees).

You cannot proselytize the notion of a  science-defying  “enigma” while hindering access to information that might throw light on authenticity. Nor can you reasonably use that website of yours  (www. Shroud.com) as a shop window for your squirreled-away archives, while stating categorically:  “We do not permit our high resolution files to be published on the internet.”

The photographs that you took of the Shroud may well be your personal property, Mr.Schwortz (though the Shroud’s custodians might well take a different view if challenged).  But no STURP investigator, living or dead, has (or had) the right to gift you their research findings.  Those findings should all be in the public domain. It costs nothing to post them on the internet. Please do that NOW Mr.Schwortz.  STURP investigators were given PRIVILEGED access to the Shroud, not personal and private access.  Any data they collected ought not to be hoarded as if your own , or STERA Inc’s private property. I repeat: IT SHOULD ALL BE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Mission Statement: (my italics): STERA (Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc)
The Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc., is dedicated to publishing fact-based information about the Shroud of Turin through its award-winning website, http://www.shroud.com. In addition  to this extensive online resource, the Association maintains a vast collection of scientific and historical  material crucial to the continuing study of the Shroud.
The Website: http://www.shroud.com, founded January 21, 1996, is the oldest, largest and most extensive  resource of Shroud of Turin information on the Internet. It is responsible for disseminating a wealth of  data about the Turin Shroud in the form of peer-reviewed articles, historical documents, and invaluable  photographs, including micro, x-ray, ultraviolet and other specialized forms of photography. In its more   than fifteen years of continuous online publication, the website has reached over ten million viewers, and  is used as a library resource by professional investigators of the Shroud, as well as by teachers, students and interested public from all over the world.

http://www.shroud.com publishes articles presenting differing,  often conflicting views regarding the authenticity and origin of the Shroud written by investigators of   various scientific and religious backgrounds. The publisher maintains an unbiased site open to all  factually supported views.

The Museum and Library: The President of the Association, photographer Barrie M. Schwortz, was a  member of the international Shroud of Turin Research Project which was granted unparalleled and   unimpeded access in 1978 to perform the first ever in-depth scientific examination of the cloth in its  history. During the ensuing thirty years, Mr. Schwortz has accumulated an extensive collection of  Shroud-related materials. These include, in addition to his own items, the collections of five prominent  Shroud researchers, now deceased, who placed their materials under his direct care and control, plus other
collections pledged but not yet received. A continually increasing portion of these materials is now  available indirectly to the public via the website, and directly to qualified researchers on request. As the  process of curating and archiving continues, more and more of these extensive materials are being made  accessible.
The Center: The Association looks forward to establishing a Center where Shroud-related historical  artifacts, documents and other visual materials will be displayed in a museum-like setting for the benefit  of the general public, and where direct, physical access to these various items will be provided to research  scholars. Establishment of the Center is intended to ensure that these invaluable scientific and historical materials remain intact as a collection and are preserved for use by future generations of Shroud scholars,
enabling the work of understanding enigmas of the Shroud to continue.

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About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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