Thursday, June 4, 2020

Lion Tattoo Copyright Lawsuit Continues


If you are wondering about last year’s copyright infringement lawsuit by a tattoo artist against a video game company, here’s a quick recap. Of note is this following gem,

Even though there haven’t been any stories of big legal victories by tattoo artists, there’s enough anxiety to keep lawyers imagining the possibilities, and to provoke the NFL Players Association to call it a “pressing issue” and advise its members to get copyright waivers or licenses from their tattoo artists.

I’m still wondering why this is such a big issue. As I’ve said before, if a video game included the image of a painting by Andy Warhol, I’m pretty sure the video game company’s in-house counsel would make sure to get clearance on that Warhol painting. Why is a tattoo on a person’s body different? I know law profs love to theorize about this kind of thing, but it’s precisely that kind of intellectual flamboyancy that leads to lawsuits. Unless it’s fair use, clear the rights.



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Comments: 2

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  • Laura Strachan

    And since “fair use” is a legal determination that can only be made after an infringement claim, the bottom line is CLEAR THE RIGHTS.

  • Matt

    Well, the Hangover movie tattoo lawsuit settled, so maybe that indicates that Warner Bros lawyers agree with you: that from a strictly legal standpoint, this isn’t controversial.

    I think this gets so much press because it comes as such a surprise to the general public, who tend to think of copyright only in the context of movies, music, TV shows etc… The idea that Condit can’t authorize the use of his own image must seem absurd.

    There may also be more selfish reasons. I’m not sure of the exact percentage, but a lot of people have tattoos these days. And when people get a new tattoo, what’s the first thing they might do? Post pics of it on Facebook. The idea that doing so might be illegal is the kind of thing that might get people riled up.

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