February 08, 2021 Feature

The Limited Copyright Protection for Playing Cards

Elana Greenway Faniel

©2021. Published in Landslide, Vol. 13, No. 3, January/February 2021, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

Learning how to play the card game of Spades is a rite of passage. At barbecues and family functions, a Spades game was always afoot. To be clear, one could not simply join a game of Spades if one did not know how to play. You had to learn and practice on your own, and then showcase your skills during a legitimate game. My Spades-playing skills are below average, so I rarely volunteer to be someone’s Spades partner. I prefer to spectate so as to spare myself from any undue embarrassment. I also prefer to play Blackjack and Solitaire. Interestingly, in the United Kingdom, the game of Solitaire is referred to as “Patience.”1 The name suits the game, as I am sure I have built much patience while playing against chance—and myself.

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