Friday, August 8, 2014

Do you have the rights?

The following is an email I received from Babs of the Content Management Team at Zazzle after I ordered a "create your own design" pillow for Wally's birthday.  My response to the lovely Babs follows her polite letter.  And the "intellectual property" she refers to is from a 1967 SHU basketball program.

Hello Kerry,
Thanks for placing an order at Zazzle.

Thank you for your recent order at Zazzle!  We’re looking forward to bringing your custom product to life, but first we have a quick question!

As you may already know, Zazzle prides itself on upholding all intellectual property rights as outlined in our User Agreement and Content Guidelines.

With that said, we would like to begin the production of your order, but we first need to validate your design entitled “throwpillow.”  

In order to assist us, please reply to this email with honest responses to the following questions(s):

1. What is the source of this image?  Where did you find it?

2. How are you associated with Sacred Heart University?

3. How are you associated with the individuals in these images?

4. Do you have permission from the Sacred Heart University Collegiate Licensing and Trademark department to use these images and text  to create Zazzle products?

Attached is the current design for your review.

Thanks in advance for your response.  Your answers to our questions will help us review the design and get your order to you as quickly as possible!

Babs  Content Management Team
Zazzle Inc.

Case Number: CAS-161140-W9F2L8

Dear Babs and Zazzle folks,

My gosh, you are thorough! Didn't anybody read the date on the text? 
This pillow will be a gift for my husband's 70th birthday.

1.  The source of the images is an old scrapbook kept by my husband's mother. It's his page from a 1967 game program that no longer exists anywhere except probably with the other old guys (those who are still living) who saved theirs from that day in 1967. I have been unable to track down the "rights" or any source for the photo or program as those things were not recorded for each game back in 1967 when the world was a simpler place and people trusted each other not to take advantage of "intellectual property" by putting photos on pillows for birthday gifts.  And I'm reasonably sure those involved in putting together the program, if there was a way to track them down, are dead or at least on their last leg with no memory of who did what for this game program in 1967. There is no catalog for these things on the SHU website. I looked because I wanted a cleaner copy to work from.

2.  We are not associated with the university except that it is where my husband went to school long ago, lettered in 4 sports, and where he occasionally donates money. In return, they sometimes contact him for more money.

3.  The image is of my husband. Isn't he cute? He no longer has a crew cut. He's a few pounds heavier and has gray hair now. Oh, at the end of this message, I'll add a recent picture of Wally with one of his sports heroes so you can see what he looks like. I took this picture a couple of weeks ago with my own camera and had both parties sign a release form in case I want to put the image on a pillow in the future.  The tall man is Bailey Howell of the 1966-'70 Boston Celtics. Hard to believe they both played basketball in the same era, considering the difference in their heights, don't you think? Bailey was 6'8" but is probably more like 6'6" now that he's 80 years old.

4. a.   I did not contact SHU about this pillow because I didn't think they'd care about a birthday present for one of their former star athletes. Considering we live in a retirement community in Florida, 1,300 miles from the university in Fairfield, Connecticut, I doubt that anyone associated with the school will ever know of this pillow. However, I promise that if there's a chance of us hosting a 1967 class reunion here, I will hide it so that no one can order them in mass quantity to sell for a tremendous profit. It would no doubt generate a lot of revenue as a collector's item, considering college basketball stars who are 5'10" (He's currently 5'8". He got measured at the doctor's office yesterday during his checkup for arthritis and gout.) and average 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game are hard to come by these days. Those guys usually don't get into the program, or at least they don't get such a nice big picture.

4.  b.  And the typeface and color on the text is my own creation/choice because it will go with the style of my living room.  As far as I know, the university has not used this typeface or color on anything that I have seen.  It was not on the original program and it is not on the many Sacred Heart t-shirts or sweatshirts we have bought online from their school store.

In conclusion, I hope I have brightened your day with my story.  I'm sure my pillow creation with be a big hit with my hubby. In fact, I'll take a picture of him opening the gift and send it to you, with a release form, so you can use it on your website. Won't that be special?

Kerry Kendall Hrabstock 

Author's website:


Bailey Howell of the Celtics and Wally.