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Old 08-12-2008, 02:50 PM
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Posted By: Dave F


I am trying to work up a website for myself, nothing too fancy. I was curious though about card images and what I can use. As far as a background or throwing an image or two up of a really nice card (that I'd have no chance of ever owning) on the front page, what is acceptable? Obviously I wouldn't want to take someone'e Four Base Hits card that resides in a SGC holder and put that on it...but what about raw card and such? I'm not wanting to cross any lines or get in any copyright trouble..just don't know the guidelines on putting a card up on the site if it isn't mine.


(Although if anyone wants to email privately with the almighty best cards in the business in slabs and just would like or wouldn't mind them being up that would be great too!)

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Old 08-12-2008, 02:59 PM
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Posted By: Anonymous

There was a discussion a few months back about whether a scan really is an "original work of authorship" such that it could be entitled to copyright protection. That said, whether it is or is not should not depend on whether a slabbed or raw card is depicted -- although it's probably a lot easier to show someone borrowed a scan of a particular slabbed card than a raw one.

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Old 08-12-2008, 03:45 PM
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Posted By: Denny Walsh

Dave,
This is a Very Good Question. I've pondered this thought many times, mostly when there was a debate about someone else useing anothers Scan for their business. Hopefully the guys who were involved will chime in & express their views.
I personally don't think that there is anything wrong with others useing
BORROWED pictures, Asking permission though is a must!

Life's Grand,
Denny Walsh

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Old 08-12-2008, 03:50 PM
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Posted By: Matt

I wonder if there's anything in the terms of use to the public set registries that suggest that when you upload an image of your card to their registry site, it's in the public domain.

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Old 08-12-2008, 03:52 PM
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Posted By: Marty Ogelvie

I spoke with an NFL League attorney a few years back about images/logos and such for my cowboys site. He advised me NOT to use any league or team logos but card scans from cards that I owned were ok.  If you get permission from someone to display a scan of a card you don't own, then that would be ok also.

I wouldn't worry much about scans of raw cards.. graded cards that show the serial number could be an issue and I would advise against that even if you did own the card.

 

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Old 08-12-2008, 04:21 PM
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Posted By: Jon Canfield

Dave - some of the images on my website were provided to me by others (Leon, Rob Lifson, Scott B, Art M, etc). In these cases, I simply asked them if they had any problem with me using the images and all were more than willing to let me use the image. I just put a tag line on the page that the image is not mine.

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Old 08-12-2008, 05:21 PM
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Posted By: Anthony N.

When PSA has used images of some of my cards for their calendars and books they always had a property release for me to agree to. I think asking permission would be a lot easier than asking forgiveness.

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Old 08-12-2008, 07:56 PM
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Posted By: Dave F


Thanks for the responses everyone. We'll see how it turns out...


Marty-

I'll pretty much have to display slabs of some of my cards as I'll have a page on there for selling. I just know I'd have issues with buying a slabbed card if I couldn't see the slab first. Maybe I should do something like put a little signature or emblem over each of my scans...maybe that would be safest.


Question for any of the lawyers on the board...I'm sure this is written pretty straight forward, but I'm wanting to make sure, this is from the Library of Congress site concerning their images. So does this mean I could NOT use a scan from there on the website (even if I put a disclaimer on the site saying I don't own such and such card?)





Copyright and Other Restrictions

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

While the Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17 U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the Baseball Cards materials, there may be content protected by copyright law. Additionally, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by privacy or other rights.

More about American Memory, Copyright and other Restrictions

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-110212]

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Electronic Sources on the Learning Page.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Baseball Cards Home Page

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Old 08-12-2008, 08:17 PM
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Posted By: Eric B

I'm pretty sure for vintage cards (i.e. copyright has expired), you can use any image from any collection anyway you see fit. Afterall, the image really belongs to either the lithographer or the manufacturer, not the current card holder. But an image that includes a recent slab may not be protected.

Some folks think that if they own the card, they own the image, so you will make more friends by just asking.

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Old 08-12-2008, 09:08 PM
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Posted By: Miguel Danielson

I am an intellectual property attorney, but this is not legal advice, yada, yada.

Works published before 1923 are no longer the subject of copyright and are in the public domain. Works published between 1923 and 1963 may still be subject to copyright if they were properly renewed at the relevant times. A company like Topps may or may not have renewed their copyright registrations for their earlier sets. For things like candy and tobacco cards where the companies ultimately went out of business and nobody purchased the copyrights they held, it is unlikely that any renewals were ever filed.

Now, even if something is in the public domain, a photographic representation of that thing may still be subject to copyright. For example, if someone takes a picture of a tree, the tree is not subject to copyright, but the photograph would be. When someone takes a picture of something like a baseball card, then the copyrightable subject matter in that photograph or scan (apart from what may exist in the card itself) is pretty minimal because copyright law requires that in order to be protectable, a work must embody a "modicum of creativity." So, maybe if you crop your scans real nice and do some digital alterations, then there is some copyrightable expression there, but not much. As with many things in the world of intellectual property, what you feel comfortable doing is ultimately a matter of assessing the risks involved and deciding which ones you're comfortable enough to live with.

One final thought I have is that with regard to the Copyright Office's scans, assuming that the cards in question are pre-1923 issues, then there should be no problem with using them freely. The federal government cannot possess any copyright interest, so even if their scans might otherwise be copyrightable by a private citizen, they can have no such rights in the scans.

There are other potential intellectual property issues involved with sports card images, such as rights of publicity and trademark, though for hobbyist uses of pre-war cards I think these issues are not likely to be nearly as relevant as the copyright issues. Nevertheless, if I have any fellow IP lawyers here on the board and you're up for an academic discussion on these topics, nothing would please me more. One thing I have thought frequently about is how companies like Topps have very interestingly begun to re-establish trademark rights in terms like T206 and Allen & Ginter, which were previously abandoned because nobody had used them on actual products for many decades. For those not keeping up with the shiny stuff, Topps has recently begun to issue modern day sets that are look-a-likes of classic pre-war sets, and have adopted the names of those pre-war sets (and applied for federal trademark protection of these names).

Ahhh, if there was only such a thing as baseball card law...

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Old 08-13-2008, 07:48 AM
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Posted By: Marty Ogelvie

Good information Miguel.

Dave, my concern over Graded cards and serial numbers is geared towards scammers that would take those numbers and create bogus slab inserts. I have seen/read about this done before.

One thing I wish I had done is to create a watermark to put on all my images. (like 707 does). I have nearly 5k card scans on my site and once you get that many, folks will borrow them and use them, mainly on other message boards.  If I had a watermark, they would be less likely to use my images and if they did anyway, FREE ADVERTISING..

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Old 08-13-2008, 08:29 AM
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Posted By: Dave F


Thanks for the info everyone here is presenting. And Marty, definitely something else to think about with the watermarks or something like that.


One other question...is there anything wrong with having scans on the site of cards that were mine, but aren't anymore? The scans all came from my own scanner by the way....

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