Capital One: Who's in Your Wallet?

Capital One: Who's in Your Wallet?

The interwebs are abuzz today with excitement over the new Capital One credit cards; you can use your own image! Holy excitement, why is personalizing something so fun?! They even allow you to upload images directly from your flickr account. This is a brilliant marketing campaign, though I’m going to resist; I need another credit card like I need a hole in the head. Or an IRS audit.

I did enjoy wasting twenty minutes on the site, however. First I tried my image of my favorite food. Excellent. A little stocky, though.



Then I tried out Henry. Henry put on a mask for Halloween, and this seems like a nice way to reward him. He can now buy his own jerky treats.


But THEN I had a dangerous impulse. I wanted to put SOMEONE ELSE’S image on my card. I love photography! What would be better than having Ansel Adams’ Nurse Hamaguchi buy me lunch every day? Nothing! and it would be ok, because this image is public domain. But what if it wasn’t? Surely there are folks out there who will have the same impulse I did. Who’s checking the copyrights on these things?


UPDATE:  A very clever lawyer friend did some research on this for me. Here’s the lowdown:

“the ‘Image Guidelines’ say, ‘We will not approve any images that
contain the following …’ and one of the following is ‘Copyrighted or
trademarked material not owned by a Capital One partner.’ I admit, it
would totally be a waste of Cap1’s time to actually check the copyright
on all images submitted for approval — like, a TOTAL waste of time.
But otherwise, aren’t they opening themselves up to potential
liability?  I mean, I’m not an IP lawyer, but considering the fact that
they also say they screen for ‘Socially unacceptable groups (ie, gangs,
supremacy),’ sexual content, etc … all of which are much easier to
screen for without doing additional research (though more
controversial), I’d think it’s dangerous turf.

Interestingly, among the other images they prohibit are: ‘Any references to the Olympic Games or events’ “

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There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Ian Crean at 5:43 am

    I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I heard that part of the deal is that you when sign up for your own image on a card you also give Cap One rights to use your image elsewhere, (eg on other cards or in their marketing) free of charge, and without restriction. Check the small print!

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