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Consumer Rights/Intellectual property rights


I am wanting to print out scans of cards of an old trading card game that are no longer being produced or sold. The company that made them has stopped making and selling these cards and this game completely, and the images of the cards are publicly available online (Wikipedia and other places). Is it acceptable for me to print these out or use these to make cards for personal use, or are the images still protected under a copyright/owned by the original makers? Thanks.


Please keep in mind I am not a lawyer,but I do have experience with copyrights, trade marks, service marks and patents from personal experience.

The copyright is held by the artist of the images unless they assigned those rights to someone else.
The copyright law is generally enforced if the image or writings show up being mass produced for a profit. If you can download at no charge from Wikipedia the images, I see no reason you could not use them for personal use.
From my own experience, I attempted to enforce copyright law on a business that was stealing my work product. Ity could be proven and I had an excellent case the attorney told me. The only problem: he wanted a ten thousand dollar retainer and his rates were $500.00 per hour. The cost of litigation was simply not worth pursuing.
Now, there are instances I will litigate.
On the bottom of my website I have it copyright Rob Painter, all rights reserved. Any reprint of images or information without written authorization will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
You might say for a website? You bet!
The reason is that I serve as an expert witness. Opposing attorneys have no problem violating the law, will print the complete website (size of a NYC phone book) and attempt to interrogate me on the information. Yes, I would use them in a heartbeat!
In your case however, for your personal use, who is going to know?
Sometimes, the author or artist will request royalties up front and commonly, they are not significant.
I subscribe to a place that supplies images. I am told what I am allowed to do with those images as well as what I can't. I pay $25 per image.
If you can get them off the web, chances are they can be used for personal use. Otherwise, there will be some sort of security that will stop you. For personal use, I wouldn't hold my breath for the cops beating down your door.
There is also information at that will tell you about "free use."

Good luck and thanks for the question.


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Rob Painter


I am not an attorney, nor can I give legal advice. I can however answer questions related to stolen vehicles when the insured is denied payment due to misrepresentation. My goal is to sort through all the puported facts in order to determine the truth as to how the vehicle was last operated. I work for insurance companies and against them when their "Forensic Expert" did not do his job in an unbiased manner. Commonly these theft insurance denials are based on the information supplied in the "forensic" report on the vehicle. In most cases conclusions inferring the insured's key (proper key)was used last, based on net opinion with no basis. I scrutinize these reports as to what theories were or were not ruled out.


I have served as a consultant/expert for plaintiff & defense attorneys since 1998 in 14 different state jurisdictions as well as federal court. I was also the defense expert in a USAF court martials in which we prevailed. I do not take full credit for the prevailing side. It is a joint effort by the client attorney and my extensive knowledge on auto theft, forced entry, forensic ignition analysis, transponders, vehicle fire origin and cause etc.

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