using copyright images

juli cooke

I've made a deck using images from Star Trek Fact Files. How to I go to Paramount Pictures to get copyright permission? Suggestions would be gratefully received.



I'm not sure if I can help very much, perhaps someone else here will be able to say more. I think it depends really whether you want this deck purely as a personal project, for your own use, or whether you want to sell it. If you are planning to sell it, then you would need to apply not just for copyright but for licensing (i.e. to buy a license to use these images - after all, they are someone else's property). I would guess that for something as universally popular as Star Trek, licensing would be pretty expensive.

Anyway, like I say, others here may add more...


Hi, Juli!

I've dabbled with making myself a Star Trek deck, too. I didn't intend for it to be published, though, since I was just doing it for my own enjoyment.

However, I've learned that Paramount is fanatic about keeping anyone else from using unauthorized images, and they rarely, very rarely, allow outside interests to create material based on the ST characters. I'm guessing that if you contact Paramount directly, not only will they say "No" but they will order you to cease and desist using any copyrighted images for any reason whatsoever. I'm not kidding...they are really obnoxious about this.

Do a Google search for "Star Trek" "Paramount" and "Letter" and you will see some of the letters people have received from Paramount about their websites. True, the web users were using pictures and sounds without authorization. But the restrictions Paramount demanded included NO synopses of plots or 'artistic images' based the various TV shows, which seems ridiculous to me.

Anyway, sorry I got off on a rant here! I guess I still have this lingering belief that Paramount somehow caused the hard drive crash I had a year ago that lost all the images of the Star Trek tarot cards I'd completed! ;) Also, most of this was going on a few years ago, and they may have relaxed somewhat since then.

Good luck on your deck!




I doubt they've relaxed, big companies spend a lot of time keeping people from adapting their property. Disney will go after anyone using mouse ears, McDonalds will go after anyone putting "Mc" on the front of a word/product.


It's a sad fact of life for companies that hold really valuable copyrights and trademarks that they can't afford to allow ANY commercial or quasi-commercial use of the work that doesn't take place within the company itself.

The reasoning is simple - say they give you permission to use their work for a single item. Later on, someone comes to you and asks for permission to use your work, or, more likely, uses it without informing you. Since they don't have direct control over your work, they can't sue the second party directly for infringement.

If they don't keep up a pattern of defense of copyright/trademark (trademarks especially!), then their legal rights can be eroded. For example, once a trademarked name is deemed to be in "common" usage for a general item, the trademark becomes invalid.


In the past, Paramount HAS been sort of open to licensing to small projects. Someone in our city wrote them about doing book bags with the actors on it, and they gave her the ok, so long as she paid their licensing fee. She said she could afford it and sold enough bags to make it worthwhile. So I'd say go ahead and contact them. They might be ok with you doing it and quote you a fee scale. But they'll want to know up front how many you're intending on making, etc. So get the facts & figures in order before contacting them.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Star Trek is a cash cow for them so they're going to want to protect it.