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chaosbloom  chaosbloom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcarter View Post
They are reprinted by permission of USG along with a "Further reproduction prohibited." under that.
Thanks. Damnit, I was hoping for some indirect verification that some of the early versions would be copyright free. The search still goes on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trzes View Post
My old 1980'S RWS-Copy is by AGM. They have a small note on the box, saying "COPYRIGHT © 1971 by US Games SYSTEMS. INC.. N.Y. 10016".

One for sale on German Amazon now says "© 1971 US Games Systems. Inc. / 1983 AG Müller Urania" on the small image of the back of the box. AGM Urania seems to licence many US Games things to sell in Europe, but does this example mean that they bought the copyright for Europe as well or that they also do all the copyright stuff in Europe on US Games' behalf?

amazon.co.uk has an RWS android app for free without mentioning any copyright, at least not on the amazon page. Has anyone used this and can say whether there is any copyright being mentioned within the app?

BTW I didn't manage to achieve what you did as a B&W fool, neither with Gimp nor with my old paintshop 7. I guess it would have required dealing with the basic colors seperately, otherwise yellow and red end up as almost the same shade of grey. Anyway, my nice excuse will be that the fool and the 3 of coins seem to be the only cards where the color provides content. So I'll be fine with the link Roppo provided.

ETA: Just tried again. Making red darker did the job.
Here's two better Fools I've made. This one has all the color details including the print-lines which might not be to everyone's taste. And this one is softer and cleaner.

Here's a Three of Pentacles too.

I've also rotated them a little to make them properly perpendicular to the X,Y axis since they were scanned in a very slight oblique angle and cropped out the plain paper parts of the card in the last two. Used the Pamela-A series for both.

(US Games, please don't start sending me angry letters for posting two images I don't plan on profiting from. Let's be friends instead.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosbloom View Post
Thanks. Damnit, I was hoping for some indirect verification that some of the early versions would be copyright free. The search still goes on.
)
I 've often wondered about the deck talked about on this thread http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=234818

I had just the deck. The cards are copies of the University books deck, no copyright in sight, and I wondered how that happened. I never had access to a book or booklet that might have said.
Top   #32
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Wikipedia article on Rider-Waite & copyright


I see there's been a bit of an editing scuffle on wikipedia's entry for the rider-waite deck this last week.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:R...pyright_status

Someone is very keen to enforce the public perception that the deck is still solidly in copyright.

The person who is doing these edits doesn't have a history of editing anything arounds cards, decks, tarot, copyright or anything remotely related.
Visit that person wikipedia profile page and you see they end their profile with the words
"... I do have a life, a wife, and (occasionally) no overdraft. Such fun."
An odd thing to say I thought on first reading it.

I'll leave you to draw your on conclusions there.

Callanish
Top   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Callanish View Post
I see there's been a bit of an editing scuffle on wikipedia's entry for the rider-waite deck this last week.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:R...pyright_status

Someone is very keen to enforce the public perception that the deck is still solidly in copyright.

The person who is doing these edits doesn't have a history of editing anything arounds cards, decks, tarot, copyright or anything remotely related.
Visit that person wikipedia profile page and you see they end their profile with the words
"... I do have a life, a wife, and (occasionally) no overdraft. Such fun."
An odd thing to say I thought on first reading it.

I'll leave you to draw your on conclusions there.

Callanish
Thanks for that link, Callanish! I have read this talk page a while back but wasn't aware of the recent development. I find it rather revealing indeed that the edit war there continued as soon as this thread started here. Certain people must have become nervous .

I have now added my two cents to the RWS talk page at wikipedia as well.
Top   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trzes View Post
Thanks for that link, Callanish! I have read this talk page a while back but wasn't aware of the recent development. I find it rather revealing indeed that the edit war there continued as soon as this thread started here. Certain people must have become nervous .

I have now added my two cents to the RWS talk page at wikipedia as well.
I just read your addition to the talk page.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:R...ite_tarot_deck (for anyone interested)

You made the point that it's a "speculative claim " and "This may be regarded as disputed or as an open question though".
The copyright section on the RW wikipedia article should be a balanced summary of both sides of the argument.
Not a flat out statement of "fact", which is what I believe this "editor" is trying to achieve.

It's all very sinister. Perhaps a court case, crowd funded on the "public domain" side, is needed.
Makes you wonder what they'll cook up in 6 years time when it becomes a moot point.

Callanish
Top   #35
Yorkshireman  Yorkshireman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Callanish View Post
I see there's been a bit of an editing scuffle on wikipedia's entry for the rider-waite deck this last week.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:R...pyright_status

Someone is very keen to enforce the public perception that the deck is still solidly in copyright.

The person who is doing these edits doesn't have a history of editing anything arounds cards, decks, tarot, copyright or anything remotely related.
Visit that person wikipedia profile page and you see they end their profile with the words
"... I do have a life, a wife, and (occasionally) no overdraft. Such fun."
An odd thing to say I thought on first reading it.

I'll leave you to draw your on conclusions there.
You shouldn't be so suspicious. I have lots of "non-day-job" interests, of which copyright is just one, and while it's primarily as regards literary works, films and photographs, looking into those in detail invariably leads to an appreciation of how other works are covered, as well.

Similarly, there is nothing "odd" about my Wiki User page - it's just how it's evolved over the years in reaction to abusive vandalism. "Such fun" is simply a reference to a TV series that anyone familiar with it will get.

My recent edits to the RWS page were prompted by nothing more than me already having the page in my Watchlist, so the initial edit of 5 November was automatically flagged up. I was certainly unaware of even the existence of this forum until today, which I only came across when Googling the issue in question.


I get that a lot of people desperately want the artwork to be in the public domain everywhere, and I certainly detest the sort of copyright bullying that some putative rights holders have been known to resort to in order to maintain income streams as long as possible (the Conan-Doyle estate being a prime example).

To me is seems fairly clear that there is a good argument that the US copyright expired long ago, and in fact that's what the text I reinstated says. It's equally obvious that the UK/EU copyright is, a) determined by the date of Colman-Smith's death, and b) is thus still in force until the end of 2021.

All that said, it was only when looking closely today at how the 1911 Act deals with pre-existing commissioned works that I realised that it is probable that any copyright assigned to Waite in 1910 actually reverted to Colman-Smith's estate in 1952. On that basis, while US Games/Stuart Kaplan may be correct in asserting that the UK/EU copyright is still in force, they would probably have a tough time proving that they themselves are actually entitled to exploit it.

So who does own the artwork copyright? Beats me. There seem to be numerous references to Colman-Smith's "heirs" being limited to an elderly female friend who shared her house, but in the absence of a will that would not have been legally valid. If she died intestate, then any assets left over after settling her outstanding debts will have passed to HM Treasury pending subsequent identification of valid heirs, which may have been... never!

ETA: The pre-1912 Act term was 42 years from publication, or seven years after author's death, so in Colman-Smith's case it would be to the end of 1958.
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I've always thought any copyright claim US Games has is for their version of the original Waite-Smith images. I don't see how they could claim to be the copyright holder of the original art unless they obtained it legally, and I've never heard that they did, though they might have.
Top   #37
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I hate to admit it, but with the information Yorkshireman provided on the RWS talk page at wikipedia it seems clear indeed that US Games is at least right about the expiry date of the RWS copyright. It's 2021 in the UK/EU, tough. The reason is that UK copyright all the way down from the 1911 act to the 1995 amendment is retroactive indeed, although I didn't find it obvious at all to locate the relevant bits in these long and winded law texts. So thanks again, Yorkshireman, for pointing to them.

The other issue Yorkshireman came up with is quite interesting too. So did US Games ever really own UK copyright for the RWS? In order to answer this question the lawsuits US Games has allegetely been involved in become more important again. If these lawsuits were about UK copyright of the original Pam deck (and not about their own alterations of the deck), and if they really ended with a court decision (and not with an inofficial agreement avoiding endless costs for lawyers) then there would be no doubt that US Games is legally right about their claims for the UK/EU.

Does anybody know more about these lawsuits or has any idea where to look?
Top   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trzes View Post
Does anybody know more about these lawsuits or has any idea where to look?
Thanks. That was what I was trying to point out. I believe Teheuti has a lot of information. Frank Jensen would probably also know, and truelighth knows a hell of a lot too..
Top   #39
Yorkshireman  Yorkshireman is offline
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I think it's important to bear in mind that we're really looking at a number of distinctly separate copyright entities, i.e.:

1) Pamela Colman's Smith's original artwork (or direct copies thereof)
2) The deck of cards published by William Rider & Son of London featuring coloured versions of Colman-Smith's artwork [1909-1910]
3) The Key to the Tarot, i.e. text by Waite [1911]
4) The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, i.e. text by Waite along with Colman-Smith's artwork in monochrome [1911-1912]

The easy stuff first: Waite's text for The Key to the Tarot is undoubtedly in the public domain in the UK/EU, and the same is almost certainly true of its adaptation for The Pictorial Key.

Although technically a co-authored work by virtue of text by Waite and art by Colman-Smith, the two elements can be clearly divided, since I doubt there is any suggestion that Colman-Smith had any hand in the text by that stage.

If we put aside the issue of the underlying artwork, there can be no lasting copyright in the cards as produced by William Rider & Son of London, unless an individual can be identified who was principally responsible for their presentation - i.e. the colouring, design implementation, etc. - and that they died later than 1944. If not, as an "anonymous" work, copyright will have expired 50 years after publication, i.e. after 31 December 1960.

Everything, I think, hinges on exactly what the arrangement was between waite and Colman-Smith. Plenty of sources simply describe a "commission," but it's clear that Waite had more than a little input in what was on the cards, and others may be able to clarify just how collaborative the process was.

As ever the law hangs on strict definitions, and there are clear differences between how copyright ownership (but not term) is treated in light of whether it was produced in the furtherence of someone's employment, as what we would term a freelance commission, as a voluntary service, or if the copyright was assigned to someone else after the fact. It seems to me that Waite's motivations were more to do with getting an "ideal" Tarot deck into circulation, rather than as a money-making exercise, and that Colman-Smith's involvement may well have been on the same basis. Obviously if there is in existance an actual legally-binding agreement confirming a commission, with Colman-Smith forgoing any and all claims to her artwork, then Waite's successors would still be the copyright owner. If, on the other hand, there is documentation confirming Colman-Smith merely assigning any copyright claim of hers to Waite after the work was done, ownership would have reverted to her successors 42 years after publication, as that was the copyright term pre-1911 Act.

I've had a chance to look at my copy of Tim Padfield's Copyright for Archivist and Records Managers (a standard work on the subject), and it does confirm my previous understanding of the 1911 Act on this particular point, and that it was preserved in both the 1956 and 1988 Acts, i.e.:

"Substituted rights under the 1911 Act

The 1911 Copyright Act changed the duration of copyright for some existing works. If copyright had been assigned for the whole of its term by the author before 1 July 1912, the Act said that the assignment was to have effect only for the period of copyright that applied at the time of the assignment. The right for any extended period created by the new Act were given to the author, with only limited rights remaining to the assignee, unless the author made a new assignment after the passing of the Act."

This clarifies a point I was previously unsure about, i.e. whether a previous assignment could still stand, if properly worded (e.g. giving rights "in perpetuity"). Instead, it seems that if Colman-Smith had assigned her copyright to Waite in 1909, they would have had to make a new and separate agreement after 1 July 1912 in order for the rights not to revert to her at the end of 1952. I suspect few people would think that likely to have happened.

In the absence of any sort of agreement one way or the other, it would really be down to a court to decide the exact nature of the transaction between Waite and Colman-Smith. It could be argued that it was a de facto commission, and so should be protected as such, but equally a judgement could err on the side that in the absence of commission documentation it could only be seen as an assignment, and thus no longer owned by Waite's successors.

Obviously IANAL, but my own opinion would be that if no documentation confirming a legally-binding commission exists - or only documentation confirming a subsequently reverted assignment exists - anyone claiming ownership of Colman-Smith's copyright (other than her own successors) would be ill-advised taking the question of the ownership to courrt. Even if they possessed documentation confirming a legally-binding commission but did not disclose it beforehand, the court would probably take a dim view of them waiting to use it at that later stage. A trzes says, we really need to know more about the US Games' supposed victories in court, as they may clarify what original documentation they used to back up their claim.

ETA: The pre-1912 Act term was 42 years from publication, or seven years after author's death, so in Colman-Smith's case it would be to the end of 1958.
Top   #40




 


 


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