Back in April 2011 Jeremy posted an interesting and much commented on blog about the ownership of copyright in tattoos - and also asking how moral rights might apply to tattoos - and back in 2010, Aurelia J Schutltz posted a blog that partially looked at the topic in tattoos - too.
But we were not the first! Brooklyn based lawyer Marisa Kakoulas, Editor in Chief of the tattoo blog needlesandsins.com, began writing about tattoos and copyrights in 2003, and she has clients who have sued defendants such as clothing companies for appropriating their tattoo designs, with Kakoulas telling Voxxi.com that in the past five years its all grown up, "It was almost a law school hypothetical, everyone laughed when I would bring this up ...... but in the past five years, people are taking the issue of proper licensing seriously.”
Voxxi highlight the 2011 case against Warner Bros after the design of the tattoo tha adorns boxer Mike Tyson’s face appeared on an actor’s face in the movie "The Hangover: Part II”: Tattooist S. Victor Whitmill sued Warners, and although the case was eventually settled, the judge in the case said the artist had a “strong chance of prevailing . . .” during a preliminary hearing in California.
Voxxi.com also quote attorney Laura Handman who says “Clearly, there can be copyright of the tattoo,” adding “But some of the standard longtime forms would already be in the public domain. [Mike Tyson's tattoo was] derived from tribal art and arguably had copyright status in the sense of originality.”. It all makes for an interesting read and you can find the full article using the link below