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Regarding clones of classic decks (copyright question)

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schizandra  schizandra is offline
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Regarding clones of classic decks (copyright question)


I was hoping someone might clue me in as to the copyright laws regarding "redrawing" or "recoloring" a classic deck to make a new "clone" deck. I'm thinking of decks such as the Radiant RW and Universal Waite, or even the Liber T (at least for the majors). These decks are deliberately very similar to the RWS or Thoth, basically taking the same images and drawing/coloring them in a different style. Did the creators of those clone decks need to obtain legal permissions before publishing them? Or is the copyright for classic decks limited to the exact images in their respective decks, therefore making merely SIMILAR images safe from copyright infringement?
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schizandra  schizandra is offline
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Just wanted to add that I posted this thread here bc I may be interested in creating a clone deck.
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Yelell  Yelell is offline
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I've been curious about that. Something like the radiant is also sold by US games, so I suppose copyright infringement wouldn't be an issue there. Recolored self published decks like the illuminated tarot, and the nearly unchanged RWS deck by Lo Scarabeo, confuse me though. I would doubt US games would give permission to Lo Scarabeo?

I recently got a deck sold as (I think) part of an idiots guide to tarot that appears to be copied from the university press version of the RWS. I don't know if that minor variation makes a difference either. A place like gamecrafter says they won't print copyrighted material, and I do wonder how a recoloration would be viewed.
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delinfrey  delinfrey is offline
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There is a lot of public domain material in this matter (similar to reproducing Chopin preludes without much repercussion).
RWS is public domain in USA, public domain in EU since 2012 (not the pictorial key though)

It is actually quite easy to look up copyright laws, especially those regarding the public domain.

For clone decks, I believe the OP is referring to RWS, Thoth, Marseille, or Visconti (anything else would be copyright infringement with great probability), so there we go:

- Yes you can make clone decks
- When you make clone decks, make sure which part you are cloning (very important in intellectual property law, e.g artwork or other (like in RWS case))
- You can buy Mona Lisa with ironic moustache. Yes you can clone artwork!

Be respectful to artists, and you will 99% already pertain to most copyright legal systems
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Unfortunately it isn't that simple, and the RWS copyright is a highly convoluted legal affair. Here's a good source to get started on wrangling with it.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot/faq.htm
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schizandra  schizandra is offline
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Thank you! This gives me a place to start.

I would also appreciate any info or links regarding the Thoth Tarot copyright status. I searched briefly on Google and found something about a lawsuit due to OTO claiming the copyrights to it, but legalese is not my forte.
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blueeyetea  blueeyetea is offline
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The Thoth Tarot was published in 1969 (according to Wikipedia), so it's probably safe to say it's not in the public domain yet.
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