Lately, I've witnessed a severe case of inaction in my little world. In one instance, schools in Arkansas are now required to post all kinds of publicly available information to their websites. While this has been going on for years, the amount of information has grown and this year, the state legislature added "contracts with signatures" to the list. There has been an outcry against it, considering it would take no effort whatsoever for someone to come along and lift those signatures to be used for fraud and forgery. But, that backlash came too late. Where were we BEFORE this happened? I'll tell you: going along in our daily lives, trying to keep things running. In other words, not paying attention.
Fast forward to a recent announcement that the Topps company is suing Leaf over copyright infringement for the use of images of Topps baseball cards and signatures.
The suit specifically deals with the Sell Sheet for a "Best in Baseball 2011" program Leaf is undertaking:
Now, Topps says that Leaf is using copyrighted images of its product without permission. A friend of mine posted a tongue-in-cheek comment that Topps would next be suing eBay, CheckOutMyCards.com, and others for using images in their listings.
That made me stop in my tracks. What if this isn't so funny anymore? WOULD Topps sue eBay and other online sites? WOULD Topps start suing (or issuing "cease and desist" orders) to card bloggers, collectors, writers, etc? This was no longer funny.
Since it is Saturday and Topps evidently doesn't work on the weekends, according to their "contact us" page, I opted to send them and email (to firstname.lastname@example.org):
I realize that by sending this message, I may have actually STARTED a conversation at Topps that they themselves have not had yet, and that repercussions of it may lead to the very thing I am trying to defeat. But, I want to know where Topps stands so that if we need to, those of us affected by this can begin to take our own action to protect our rights as property owners, collectors, and writers & bloggers.Hello,
A friend of mine shared the current lawsuit Topps filed against Leaf for using images to promote a repackaged product line for 2011, which displays copyrighted images of Topps baseball cards. In jest, another friend asked if Topps was seeking injunctions against eBay and other online sales sites for the same violations.
I took the jesting in a serious direction and decided the best course of action was to contact Topps directly. In light of the Leaf lawsuit, *does* Topps have plans to sue eBay, CheckOutMyCards, or perhaps bloggers and/or people using Topps card images in their own online listings and/or posts?
I am a card blogger and use images of cards from my collection quite often when posting. I have also used images from other folks' posts when the image of a particular card was not readily available. While this is by no means some kind of "admission of guilt" here, I am concerned about myself, folks trying to sell their cards, and fellow bloggers regarding the use of images taken (with a camera, for example), scanned, etc of Topps products.
I would appreciate an open, honest, sincere reply as I need to know where Topps stands in relation (specifically) to non-corporate, collector-based usage of Topps product images. I also need to know if a "cease and desist" request/order is going to be drafted so that I may alert fellow collectors with whom I have contact.
If an email reply is not appropriate, feel free to call (me).
Thank you for your time and attention, and I hope to hear from you soon.
--David Henderson, http://www.tribecards.net/
I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to take up the issue AFTER it's too late. It's happening in too many other aspects of my life. Starting here, starting with me, that is going to change. I refuse to choose the path of inactivity any longer. As Paul McCartney once sang, "I've had enough."
I'll keep you posted.