Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hockey History Book: What Can I Use?

Dear Rich: I am writing a hockey history book and would love to include photos of players and memorabilia, but I don't know how I can do this while keeping my costs low, and making sure I don't use someone else's photos illegally. What if, for example, I buy an original photo (like a press photo)? Can I legally use this in my book or do I need to get permission from the photographer? Also, if it is an old hockey card from the 1970s, can I scan it and put it in my book since I paid for the hockey card and it is mine? What about memorabilia? If I take a picture, for example, of an old ticket stub or a t-shirt, would this be considered my own photo, and thus, making it legal for me to include it in my book? I'm very confused right now. I should also add that I am a resident of Canada, but there is a good chance my book will be published by an American publisher since the topic of the book is the California Golden Seals. 

Unfortunately the rules are complicated (so complicated we had to write a book about it). Here are a couple of U.S. legal principles to help you avoid the penalty box:
PS Dept. If you self publish your hockey book you have the constitutional right to sell it outside hockey stadiums.