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Leaf maintains exclusive autograph deal with Lillard

Posted Sep 5, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Sep 5, 2013 at 03:38 PM

If I owned the exclusive rights to the Beatles’ song publishing catalog and you wanted to sing one of those songs in your upcoming live concert, I’d certainly have no objection. Of course, if I owned the exclusive rights to that catalog, I wouldn’t be writing a blog; I’d be retracing the Beatles’ steps on the famous crosswalk that adorned the cover of their Abbey Road album, as part of my worldwide traveling tour.

What a day in the life THAT would be ...

But that’s the parallel I can be draw (sort of) for the rookie autograph cards of Damian Lillard, the reigning NBA rookie of the year. On Wednesday, Panini America announced that autographs of Lillard will be included in the company’s final four products of the 2012-13 season. A quote from Panini’s news release mentioned that the company had “secured a limited number of Damian Lillard autographs.”

The key word here is “limited.” On Thursday Leaf Trading Cards put out a release reiterating that it still had “an exclusive, multiyear autograph deal” with the Portland Trail Blazers’ star. But there is no litigation looming here. On the contrary, Leaf president Brian Gray said he created a special agreement with Panini that allows it to include Lillard autographs.

The key word is “exclusive.”

“I just wanted to clear up any confusion as to why these autographs will start appearing in other manufacturers’ products shortly,” Gray said in Leaf’s news release. “Basically, it’s because of a unique arrangement I spearheaded in order to make one of basketball’s brightest stars available to consumers on other companies’ cards.

“Leaf Trading Cards has been built on the notion of doing what’s best for the industry and for the consumers who make this industry great. I personally feel this move is best for the hobby by giving consumers a choice.”

On its website, Beckett magazine reported that Lillard has 134 cards on the market, but his Panini cards will be the first NBA licensed cards.

So now, there will be Lillard cards in Leaf and Panini products. It’s good cooperation. Sort of like the Beatles giving the Rolling Stones the song “I Wanna Be Your Man” 50 years ago.

By the way, can you name the other song recorded by both the Beatles and Stones?

“Money (That’s What I Want),” the 1959 song originally recorded by Barrett Strong.

How appropriate.

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