Celebrities on stamps can pose problems for first day cachetmakers.
Most requests for fees, however, are more reasonable.
Why would cachetmakers go to the trouble and expense of licensing any cachets, when most are such small businesses that taking them to court is a waste of time and money? First, fighting such a legal battle can be costly. Large corporations often have attorneys on staff, already being paid whether they work or not, while agents often are attorneys. Mom and Pop cachetmakers don't have those resources.
Second, while the large, professional cachetmakers are better targets, most small cachetmakers are unincorporated "sole proprietorships" - if they win, plaintiffs can go after the defendants' other assets. While this may be unlikely, it is possible, and paying the license fees may be a small price for peace of mind.
And, third, if a cachetmaker wishes to remain underground, it cuts down on the advertising and marketing that is possible.
Among the U.S. issues likely to requiring royalties in order to produce cachets in 1998 are Alfred Hitchcock, Tweety & Sylvester, and the First World Series in "Celebrate the Century."
The Postal Service neatly sidestepped licensing problems - for itself and for cachetmakers - with the Olympics in 1998 by issuing a "Winter Sports" stamp that features Alpine Skiing. No mention is made of the "O" word, nor are there five inter-locking rings in the design. In the past, the International and U.S. Olympic Committees and local organizing committees have been contentious in allowing Olympic stamps and covers.
Lloyd A. de Vries
© 1997 Lloyd A. de Vries