Interesting Topic of Debate: Tattoos & Copyright Law

A wide range of art is covered under copyright laws so it should come as no surprise that tattoo artists are seeking recognition for the use of their artwork in various media.

Tattoos are making their way into video games, advertisement, even sketch parodies as part of a celebrity’s or athlete’s identity; and why not? The ink is just as much a part of them as their hair color. Some artists, however, disagree. In many cases the artwork is an original design that took the artist hours to create before it was ever applied to the skin. They are wanting recognition for their creative efforts and who could blame them? The question is who owns the rights to the tattoo once it walks out the door of the tattoo shop? Does the artist get the final say in where and how the tattoo is displayed? Does the tattooed person get to do as he pleases with the ink? Or do the rights fall somewhere in between?

There are been several artists recently who have filed suit against video game manufacturers, the NFL players union, and even a big name movie company, but thus far none of these lawsuits have made it to court since there are many excuses for failure to appear in court. All have been settled out or dismissed. That doesn’t erase the fact that some lines need to be drawn to protect both the tattooed and the tattooer.

For more about this topic check out this article with links to more information on copyright laws as well as to some of the suits or tattoos in question.

What do you think? Should a tattoo be protected under copyright laws? How much of the rights go with the tattooed? Does the artist get to maintain any rights to his/her unique artwork? We’d love to hear your opinion. Share with us on Tacebook or Twitter.