Buzz Aldrin was upset that Topps used images from his Apollo 11 moon landing in a series of trading cards in 2009 in the American Heritage set. Aldrin argued that the use of the images was improper and that a company was profited off of them with no compensation going to Aldrin.
Well, A U.S. Ditrict Judge disagreed, stating the use of the images was “free speech of an issue of public interest” and dismissed the lawsuit the end of September. However, Buzz isn’t going down without a fight, as his appealed the decision to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We believe that the federal trial court’s ruling could effectively end California’s well-established and statutory right of publicity law as it affects the use of celebrity images on trinkets such as plates, pencils, trading cards and the like,” Aldrin’s attorney, Robert C. O’Brien, said in the L.A. Times. “Accordingly, Dr. Aldrin has appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit. He is hopeful for a positive result from the appeals court.”
I don’t know what others think, but to say that images from the Apollo 11 mission aren’t public use is silly in my opinion. One of the biggest moments in the U.S. space program should be recognized anywhere, and to think he, alone, should be compensated for the cards is ridiculous.
Trading card companies like Topps have a pretty good idea of what they can and cannot do in term of public figures, by going through licensing agencies and the like when necessary. This is just a big waste of money.
If Buzz wanted to do the right thing, he should have just asked Topps to pass these out at schools so kids can learn about previous missions since the space shuttle program is on hiatus.