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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Copying the Card - Don't.

There's one line on the card that never changes

One of the downsides to getting the card early is that I have to listen to the pleas of my out-of-state friend for a peek.  I get asked to take a picture of the card and text it or e-mail it to someone who is waiting by the mailbox.  After all, they've already bought their card, so what is the harm?  

When we pay our money to the League, we are buying more than a card, we are buying membership into a philanthropic organization.  The stock in trade of the League is the Official Standard Hands and Rules - a/k/a the Card.  The card is a document protected by copyright laws.  When something is protected by copyright, it means that we do not have the right to copy it.  Simple, right?

You may say - 
  • But my friend already bought her card, I'm just making one for her until she gets hers.  
  • I'm just making copies for my students so they can learn.
  • Only the members of my group can see it, and they all bought their card already.
  • I'm not selling it, so it's okay.
The top line in the center of the card has been there for at least twenty years.  It says:
This document is protected by copyright laws.  It is illegal to reproduce it.

I am not a lawyer, but you do not need to be one to know that copying the card is against the law.  So when your friend asks for a copy of the card they are asking you to commit a crime.  It may not seem like a crime, but it is.  Will you be prosecuted for it?  Probably not, but consider this:

When you copy the card and the copy you make leaves your hands, you have lost control over it.  Your friend may text it to another friend, who then prints it out and gives it to someone who makes another copy and gives it to someone else.  If you post it on your Facebook page, you are in essence making it available to the whole world - any member of your group can download it and do whatever they want with it - even sell it - and you have made that possible.

So think of what this might mean to the League, the philanthropic organization that uses the money it receives to donate to worthy charities.  Your one-time copying may escalate, causing lost sales and lost donations.  After all, why buy a card when you can just download it on Facebook?

I know this message does not apply to most readers, but there are a few who need to be reminded. Once it is done it cannot be undone - so best not to do it in the first place.  Thanks for listening.


  1. Thank you, Linda! Well said. It's one of my pet peeves....( as a former librarian) when I see folks with a copied card! I played in a tournament a while back at a table with a woman who used no card. But during one game, she said, " just a minute", reached into her bag on the floor and retrieved a Xeroxed copy of the card. " I just need to check something"
    I was appalled that any player would have an illegal copy of a card.... don't we all want to support the League that does such good work AND gives us a wonderful new card each year???

    Thanks for reminding us!!

  2. April 10. No card. No way to get through by phone or fax. Cannot order new card ... but payment has been processed. If I can't copy a copy what do you suggest I do?

    1. Hi, Lee. I, like many players, order extras and if a friend hasn't gotten hers yet she will borrow one of mine. It would be pretty rude of your group to bar you from playing because you don't have the new card - if you play with five, then all cards should stay on the table so you could use someone else's for the time being. I am sure your card is on the way.

    2. This is my first card. Luckily a friend is out of town. I will try to be patient.