Wednesday, October 7, 2009
U Can't Touch This: What Can I Do with MC Hammer's Stuff?
Dear Rich: Over 13 years ago I purchased MC Hammer's storage units which contained all his personal property such as awards, costumes, music, wedding pictures, business records, tons of mementos, etc. I want to do a blog and put pictures of the items daily on the blog so everyone can see what I have. I would like to someday sell it all to someone who will donate it back to him and they can use it somehow as a business promotional write off. In the meantime, I have about 10,000 brand new albums and tapes of his that I would like to sell on the blog site. I have a catchy name for the blog with part of it being MC Hammer. I collect memorabilia but have never hit it big like I did with this. Apparently you purchased the goods during Hammer's 1996 bankruptcy, one of several setbacks suffered by the man many once considered too legit to quit. As for your questions, the short answers are: (1) Reproducing the personal photos, business records, and perhaps some of the related mementos, at your blog would be an infringement of copyright (and may be a violation of privacy of the persons involved); (2) selling the stuff back to someone who will give it to MC Hammer sounds fine (though we're not clear on how this would qualify as a business deduction); (3) Selling the albums and tapes is fine though as far as we can tell, you might have a challenge moving the albums (and little luck with the tapes); (4) Using MC Hammer's name in your blog may be okay provided it doesn't create the impression that the performer endorses or is any way associated with what you are doing.Taking the other recommendations into consideration, the Dear Rich Staff notes that you can probably reproduce photos of items that you are selling for example, costumes and various mementos.