January 20, 2010

I want a lawyer

There have been so many questions surrounding the fact that Upper Deck has yet to release images for any of its 2010 baseball products.

Lately, the popular theory is UD is not airbrushing out MLB logos and will go forward with the products.

I collect baseball cards and write about people playing sports for a living. I have no clue about logos and copyrights and licenses.

So, I want a lawyer - or someone who knows more than I do - to explain what will happen if Upper Deck releases its 2010 cards with MLB logos without a license. Fines? Suspensions? Lawsuits?

If MLB does sue Upper Deck - and these days, who isn't? - how can Upper Deck continue to operate as a business when a good chunk of its cash flow is being used in litigation.

Educate me, please.

10 comments:

  1. This will come down to an injunction. UD will claim fair use as mlb jerseys are work uniforms. Work uniforms are traditionally covered under fair use.

    Topps will say no, that damages our brand and our contracts and attempt to file an injunction to stop UD from printing.

    A judge will either grant or decline the injunction, and that will determine wether 2010 UD sees the light of day.

    This battle could take quite a while to finish.

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  2. Indeed MR. Leather, indeed, although it would be Topps and MLB that does the injuncting (not a real legal term)

    UD cannot get around the use of logos though. If they use, they lose.


    see: http://iamjoecollector.blogspot.com/2009/01/donruss-being-sued-by-mlb-and-my-take.html

    http://iamjoecollector.blogspot.com/2009/01/more-thoughts-on-donruss-being-sued-by.html

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  3. What would happen if UD prints and distributes quickly? If the cards are already out to the masses, they are not coming back. Topps can ask for the injunction at that point, but the train would have already left the station, so to speak.

    I kind of hope it happens this way, I am dreading a "mainstream" set with logos.

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  4. That should have been without logos.

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  5. I think Upper Deck is planning on letting these cards out to the general public and that they will be with logos. They will have to recall their products shortly after Topps files the lawsuit. Thereby leading to one of the shortest run, and possibly one of the most coveted sets of all-time. Just my theory.

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  6. Chris,
    My thoughts exactly.

    I don't usually buy product right away, usually wait a year for the price to drop. But if what you and I are both thinking is correct, I'm going to buy everything in sight.

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  7. I may actually do the same thing. I plan on picking up a bunch of UD, probably not opening more than a few packs and just waiting.

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  8. I think that Upper Deck sees the writing on the wall in regards to the whole Konami lawsuit. They're not coming back after paying off the damages from that with only licensed football and hockey cards to sell. They're going to go out with one last bang with this baseball set and figure that Topps won't be able to get any money out of a company bankrupt three times over by that point. It could even be worse, imagine if they're the company mentioned in the Beckett rumor mill to have owed the IRS over $100M.

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  9. Willful infringement equals triple damages in the copyright law suit. MLB would end up owning Upper Deck if they released with logos.

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  10. Upper Deck

    Would lose millions of dollars+ will never produce another licensed product again.

    Thats pretty much it.

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