I want to publish a tarot deck based on the life of a famous dead person. How can I do this legally?

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I want to publish a tarot deck and it’s corresponding instructional book based on the life of a famous dead person. Each tarot card would include illustrations of that famous person and their life history as it corresponds to the symbolism of the tarot. However, the illustrations would in no way identify the person or the people they knew when they were alive. However the written interpretations of the cards could lead to their identity. Any information used to discuss this famous dead person would be taken from the public record (newspapers, bios). How can I avoid breaking copyright law?

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No harm in trying.

my avatar is hot but I'm not

As long as you don’t actually use their name or image you’re not violating their expectation of royalty.
If in doubt run it past a copyright attorney before you publish them to make sure you’re in the clear.


Catherine you might want to remove this question, and not post any ideas that may be stolen from other people.
You are right about copy-write laws. Best bet, go to the library and do some research on your own.
You need to do this quick though, especially,since you have announced what it is you are trying to do.
You can email me, and I can give you some tips on how to ask questions with out divulging your ideas.

Gramma Might Know

Far as I know, public record and time beyond copyright expiration should determine what you can do with that person’s information and identity.
If the person is a writer, writing tarot cards about them should be ok, if the only thing you’re doing is interpreting what they may have said….that’s supposition/fiction, not quoting.copyrighted text.
You should be fine, especially if the person died a long time ago.
The use of potentially copyrighted drawings, etc., brings up the possibility of infringement…that, you need a lot of research and probably an attorney for.


As long as you do not use any images or phrases that other people have created, you are pretty safe.
For example; if you use a photo that someone took as part of the cards imagery, you are breaking the copyright.
If you draw the picture yourself as you see it in your head, you are OK.
If you quote an article, you break copyright.
If you take all the information you have found from multiple sources and put it into your own words, you are OK.


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