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Spot The Difference?

Yes, there is a Major-Arcana-only deck in existence where every single card is as similar to mine as these (mine on the left, theirs on the right).

I was kindly advised of the existence of the deck by some loyal fans of this site in March 2002. I held off commenting about the issue on the site until the company involved, Realis, had been given the opportunity through a German copyright agency to "do the right thing". They refused to acknowledge liability to pay me royalties, despite admitting getting the images "from an English site" (I'm Australian actually, but close enough). They must have got them from here or at least have known about this site, as they cropped the name of my site off the bottom of the cards and replaced it with the name of the product they sold it as. I have always had information on this site about the fact that the cards are my own collaged artworks for which I own copyright, despite them being composed from public domain sources.

My view of copyright had been researched from the web, based on both US and English cases, and I have since obtained professional legal advice that confirms that view. Whether I can afford to pursue legal action is another matter - I can't. There is also the complication of the fact that the company published the deck in Germany. The particular specifics of German copyright law have to be considered therefore, as well as the logisitical difficulties and additional expense of undertaking legal action in another country. I know as a fact that the deck has made it's way to other countries, however, including the US. Anybody happen to know a lawyer in Germany? :^)

I put three solid months' work into creating Golden Tarot v1.0 and never made a cent from it. There's also the issue of consent - not having the opportunity to say "no" makes you feel pretty violated. The quality of the German deck is nowhere near the standard I would have approved, as it was printed from screen resolution images downloaded (without permission) from my site.

Although they published only the Major Arcana from my deck which is not as heavily collaged as the Minor Arcana, it still consists of collaged images of my own creation. If you would like to see an example showing the source material and the collaged artwork from Golden Tarot to demonstrate my point of originality. In version 1.0, that may not be the case for every single card, but it is certainly true for the majority of the deck. I now have a 'real' copy of the German deck & book, so I can comment on specific instances where they have reproduced works which I created (in both a practical and legal sense).

To the lovely people who have emailed me asking what you can do about it, the company who have produced "Tarot Kalendar 2002" deck and book are:

Realis Verlags-GmbH,
Ostmarkstrasse 18,
Munchen (Munich)



Please keep your emails to Realis as polite as possible, and I don't condone any Hacktivism action such as clogging their servers with robot scripts or launching denial of service attacks. Their site is very out of date anyway (2001 yearbooks still appear there as I write this) so I don't think they'd care, and d.o.s attacks are illegal in some countries - I don't agree with breaking the law, be it copyright law or any other sort :^)

The really sad thing is that I may never be able to put the new version of Golden Tarot that I'm currently building onto this site, or at least I may have to make the images very small so that they cannot be commercially pirated. That's a real shame, because the new version is so much nicer. If you liked the original Golden Tarot, then you may have to wait until the new version is published before you get to see it in full. I may only show a couple of cards on the site to restrict the opportunity for piracy of my work :^(

At least the 'real' version of Golden Tarot is being published by US Games Systems, so hopefully their worldwide profile will discourage any future piracy. The new version of the deck is so heavily collaged that my copyright is beyond question for every single card.

Thank you VERY much to my kind supporters for alerting me to this. I make every attempt to answer fanmail to this site, and I really appreciate the loyalty that such fans have shown to me.

Kat Black, August 2002

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