Cardtoons, L.C. v. Major League Baseball Players Association,

95 F.3d 959 (10th Cir. 1996)


Cardtoons (P) sought declaratory relief in that its parody trading cards did not infringe on the publicity rights of D. P was formed in 1992 to produce parody trading cards. The majority of the cards have caricatures of active major league baseball players on the front and humorous commentary regarding their careers on the back. A person reasonably familiar with baseball can readily identify the players lampooned on the cards. Eventually, P got a cease and desist letter from P and its printer Champs Marketing Inc. stopped printing the cards until a court order was received telling them there was no violation of D's rights. The district court held that the cards constituted expression under the First Amendment and therefore read a parody exception into the Oklahoma statutory right of publicity. D appealed; the court lacked jurisdiction to issue a declaratory judgment, and there is no such First Amendment right. D appealed.