Bullying People Over Public Domain NASA Photos

Photo source: AS11-40-5903 (20 July 1969), NASA

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin sues Topps for using his likeness in trading cards, LA Times

"Buzz Aldrin was the second person to set foot on the moon; now he's the first to sue Topps Inc. for putting a photograph of the historic moment on its "American Heroes" series of trading cards. The 80-year-old retired astronaut sued Topps on Monday in federal court in Los Angeles, contending that the trading card company had unjustly profited from his historic achievement by including a photograph of the Apollo 11 mission in a series of trading cards."

Buzz Aldrin sues trading-card company Topps, AP

"Topps attorney Michael Kahn told the Los Angeles Times that the firm has a First Amendment right to include a factual description of the Apollo 11 mission and it included an image of Aldrin in his lunar suit because he is "an American hero."

Buzz Aldrin Sues Over Image on Moonwalk Trading Card, space.com

"I don't know what direction Aldrin's case against Topps will ultimately take," [Robert Pearlman, editor of collectSPACE.com]. "While I appreciate Aldrin's rights -- as afforded by the law -- to protect his image, I cannot help but also think that this could dissuade Topps and other trading card companies from producing astronaut and space-themed products, which would be unfortunate. Dating back to the 1960s, space trading cards have been a great way to engage kids in learning about space history."

Keith's note: Gee, shouldn't the American taxpayers - the ones who spent hundreds of millions of dollars on "his historic achievement" i.e. the Apollo 11 mission, get a cut too? After all they paid for the trip to and from the photo op. Neil Armstrong is in the photo too (reflected in Aldrin's visor) and took the photo. Shouldn't he get a cut too?

This photo has been reproduced innumerable times since 1969 and has transcended its original photo status and become universally iconic. Indeed, I'd be willing to bet that most people think that this is a photo of Neil Armstrong - not Buzz Aldrin. Indeed, only when viewing the high resolution image (rarely used) can you see even see the hard-to-read name tag. Most people born a generation or more after the event, simply see this photo as being "the first man on the Moon".

2009 Topps Heritage box (American Heroes Edition), Amazon.com (note the cover image).

Pointless Lawsuit Over Public Domain NASA Photo, earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 31, 2010 8:51 AM.

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