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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Lawsuit against Upper Deck story in NY Post
Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 4:18 PM on 01.12.10
->> It is no secret in photographer circles that The Upper Deck Company is in big financial trouble. They lost their license to produce licensed Major League Baseball trading cards with MLB marks and logos on them in 2010 and have not been paying their contract photographers in a timely manner- oftentimes owing each shooter in excess of $20,000 going back over six months.

Today's New York Post offers up a juicy story that explains their latest legal problem, one that just might "be the end of Upper Deck."

Hitting the 'deck'
Suit puts big crease in baseball card maker
By PETER LAURIA
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/hitting_the_deck_tEGWRrnsRaeT64DijxTQ...
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Michael Ip, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 4:39 PM on 01.12.10
->> Wow. That is sad to read that.

I remember growing up and Upper Deck was the flagship of the trading card companies. To see a once great company brought down by a counterfeit scandal is alarming. I find it ironic one of their great initial selling points was that their cards were impossible to counterfeit.

Perhaps their financial troubles and loss of license is befitting though. I really think they were one of the reasons for the decreased demand of sports cards.
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 7:02 PM on 01.12.10
->> Explains why on one card board they were posting about troubles getting information on UD products. They were to acquire NCAA licensing in April and still have NHL, will be interesting to see what happens.
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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 8:15 PM on 01.12.10
->> I would say that they are done. And the criminal case is likely because it would be a "slam dunk" to get a conviction.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 11:06 PM on 01.12.10
->> +1 what Ian said.

These guys committed fraud. It's a shame that a number of photographers are going to get left holding the financial bag because the executives decided to lie, cheat and steal.

Michael
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Darrell Miho, Photographer
Los Angeles : SFO : HNL | CA | usa | Posted: 3:42 AM on 01.13.10
->> it is time for the UD photogs to band together and stop shooting assignments and fronting expenses until they are paid AND sue them for back payments.
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 9:03 AM on 01.13.10
->> As unsecured creditors, the photographers will probably never see their money if UD files for some form of financial protection. A company I worked for filed bankruptcy and all of the employees, me included, were left out in the cold. I was owed over $10,000, and they still owe me $10,000! That was when I decided to open my photography studio.

But UD does not need to worry about finding shooters. As the market is going to GWC's who will do it for free, just to say they had a photo placed on a bubble gum card.
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William Purnell, Photographer
Wichita | Ks | | Posted: 3:51 PM on 01.13.10
->> Interesting story. Its sad in a way that baseball cards aren't what they were when I was a kid.

"GWC's who will do it for free, just to say they had a photo placed on a bubble gum card."

I tried paying my lab fee's and rent with those.. funny they wouldn't take them....
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David Bailey, Photographer
Flower Mound | TX | USA | Posted: 1:13 AM on 01.14.10
->> Sounds like they just need to change their business approach and get people to shoot for free. They tried to get the Japanese art for free and that didn't work well for them.

I see the end of UD coming. I can't imagine the Japanese company letting this go.

How bad must things be that the CEO of UD was personally shredding counterfeit cards in his office?
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 12:05 AM on 01.15.10
->> http://www.iptrademarkattorney.com/2010/01/counterfeit-trademark-yu-gi-oh-u...
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 10:28 AM on 01.15.10
->> Mike, thanks for the update
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 1:18 AM on 01.19.10
->> Did not hear that UD did this either until today...

http://completist.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/leaked-memo-upper-deck-razor/

Seems MLB would not like that behind the scenes deal.
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 7:07 PM on 01.27.10
->> That was quick...

http://www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/latest-sports-collecting-news/upper-de...
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Matthew Sauk, Photographer
Sandy | UT | United States | Posted: 8:16 PM on 01.27.10
->> I don't know the whole story, but UD seems like a sleezeball company
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John Korduner, Photographer
Baton Rouge | LA | United States | Posted: 9:21 PM on 01.28.10
->> UD's behavior isn't new, their current business practices in the fantasy card realm is identical to the approach they took when they entered the sports card market in '89. The only difference now is that Konami didn't turn a blind eye.

Manipulation of the collectibles market is rampant and not exclusive to UD. If you're really interested in how absurd the industry has gotten you should read:

Card Sharks: How Upper Deck Turned a Child's Hobby into a High-Stakes, Billion-Dollar Business...this book was published 15 years ago!

The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History's Most Desired Baseball Card
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Tracyton | WA | USA | Posted: 9:59 PM on 01.28.10
->> So in the end how much did they have to pay out? Also makes you wonder of all the autograph and insert jersey cards how many are TRUE autographs and TRUE game worn jersey cards.
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 12:17 AM on 01.29.10
->> John- Card Sharks is an awesome book. I was an Upper Deck contract photographer during the early 1990's and lived through the era the book covered- including the very famous photographer's meeting when 25 of us were flown to Orange County from all over the country in the summer of 1992. That was a CRAZY time and the first time I met so many amazing shooters.

I can still see Jonathan Daniel wearing his road White Sox jersey during the softball game across the street from the Lovero Group office. Brings a HUGE smile to my face when I think of those times and remembering VJ cooking brats for us on the grill...
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 3:25 AM on 01.29.10
->> I'm still wondering if they've settled up with their photographers and how business will run, especially since they have the NHL license and are going to take over the NCAA one in April but lost NFL and MLB. Interesting thing is they are doing 2010 Baseball with a 600 card set of vets and rookies - but without licensing, how? Do they still have an agreement with the players association to use the likeness but not MLB to use the logos? Can't see this as over, yet - but we'll see.

Card Sharks - never read it but guess have to ad it to the collection here soon :)
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 1:18 PM on 01.29.10
->> Mike- Upper Deck still has football. Topps lost football. It gets confusing :-)
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 2:57 PM on 01.29.10
->> Brad - I need a vacation to refuel the brain before Spring Training! Definitely has gotten more confusing past few seasons, seems like each company will be down to one sport sooner or later.
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Monty Rand, Photographer
Bangor | ME | USA | Posted: 10:07 PM on 01.29.10
->> I had a friend back quite a few years who shot for Classic cards I believe. They did some college stuff. Anyways, when they folded he got stiffed pretty bad along with a bunch of other guys. I agree with Darell that photogs need to stop fronting expenses. I hope this works out for everyone involved.
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 11:13 PM on 01.29.10
->> Monty - that's happened with a lot of companies, I know a few photographers who ended up getting the short end of the stick when companies went under never to be heard from again.
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Brad Mangin, Student/Intern
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 1:24 AM on 01.30.10
->> When Fleer when under several years ago many of their shooters were owed over $20,000 with much of that money coming from spring training expenses and day rates that were never recovered. Very sad for everyone involved.

We never had to worry about that when we were all paid by The Lovero Group :-)
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Nick Morris, Photographer
WorldWide Global | ALL | Terra Firma | Posted: 1:51 AM on 01.30.10
->> So would this make my UD card collection worth more or is it now fodder for a Friday night fire?
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John Korduner, Photographer
Baton Rouge | LA | United States | Posted: 9:06 PM on 01.31.10
->> It's definitely going to hurt whatever market remains. When Star went out of business in the 80's one of the presses went missing and an individual started another run of Michael Jordan rookies, etc....when Proline went out of business, someone got hold of their crimping system and holograms and fake auto cards popped up everywhere, same thing with Classic, and I've heard a lot of rumors about Fleer's liquidation as well.
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Nick Morris, Photographer
WorldWide Global | ALL | Terra Firma | Posted: 11:05 PM on 01.31.10
->> That raises and interesting question... if and or when Upper Deck folds will there be anyone to prosecute somebody for forging their products? They have had the most aggressive policy regarding forgers and theft in the industry. Sort of ironic it's their downfall.
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Greg Fiume, Photographer
odenton | MD | USA | Posted: 9:04 PM on 02.01.10
->> this posted today about MLB.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/baseball/mlb/02/01/baseball.card.suit...
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 10:50 PM on 02.01.10
->> Great update Greg. I heard UD was going to try and still make cards. I love how the story says they have a phone number in Vegas when they are in Carlsbad down the street from Robert Beck's house. Are they already hiding?
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Powell | TN | USA | Posted: 11:57 PM on 02.01.10
->> I was very fortunate to get a slot as a shooter for the Lovero Group back in the mid-90's. VJ and Bobbo were a class act and I felt like I was part of Camera5 or something. We had enormous amounts of creative freedom with both our action but for sure on our athlete portraits. we made some amazing images for the Deck in those days. I got to go places SI never sent me to like Sears Point Raceway and a bunch of NFL stadiums. One summer, before our daughter was born, we got a list of games to shoot in the minor leagues and we took off and drove all over the Southeastern USA and shot baseball in small towns. That assignment was one of the best ones I ever had. I once drove to the Eastern coast, got out of the car, set up a lit portrait of a pitcher that just came onto a team, shot the photos, and drove home again... Alex Jennings was my assistant back then. I'm pretty sure we drove like 1100 miles in one day. those were great times for the card companies and for the Deck. Now VJ is gone and so might be our former client... I hope people get paid before the fat lady sings...
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 2:36 AM on 02.02.10
->> Wow - just saw a couple on Ebay and UD didn't even try to hide the logos or anything. Amazing, but answers how they explained to release a set this year - release and get sued for it. Wonder if Topps could sue UD as well?
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 10:53 AM on 02.02.10
->> Patrick- thanks for the great trip down memory lane. I love the comparison to Camera5! VJ and Bobbo were quite a team, along with the other fine folks in the Lovero Group office. I will never forget the kindness of Peter Brouillet when he started giving me assignments to shoot minor league baseball for the wonderful set of minor league cards they did in 1992.

There are some great people currently shooting for The Deck- many of them go all the way back to those early LG days. I hope they all get taken care of.
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 2:05 PM on 02.05.10
->> They owe 2.4 million already to MLB along with how many photographers, plus the last settlement I'm sure they owe big.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-upperdeck4-2010feb04,0,7193997.story
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John Korduner, Photographer
Baton Rouge | LA | United States | Posted: 5:00 AM on 02.14.10
->> It wouldn't be far fetched to believe this is a publicity stunt in conjunction with MLB...get the simple minded to believe there's 1910 Honus Wagner situation occurring in 2010. If I remember correctly, they tried a silly stunt a couple years ago with JFK photoshopped into a Derek Jeter card that was pretty successful stirring up false demand amongst collectors.

I have to assume their next idea involves a series of cards supposedly shipped only to U.S. troops in Afghanistan or Iraq, ala Topps in 1990...Next thing you know, you've got $.50 packs of cards that trade at $75, or a George Bush card that will set you back between $2-10K depending upon condition.

If the plan's successful, MLB recoups what they're owed. If it fails, MLB can take credit for shutting down UD. But most importantly, they take a judgment that moves them ahead of other unsecured creditors...like photographers, before UD declares bankruptcy.
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Jonathan Daniel, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 9:26 AM on 02.15.10
->> Brad: I STILL wear that jersey.
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Thread Title: Lawsuit against Upper Deck story in NY Post
Thread Started By: Brad Mangin
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