Apparently the jury is still out on the issue.
A Missouri tattoo artist who claimed Warner Brothers illegally reproduced a copyrighted tattoo settled his lawsuit earlier this month, according to a Wired magazine story. The settlement amount is confidential.
The artist claimed that the face tattoo featured in The Hangover: Part II movie was a reproduction of the one he gave boxing champion Mike Tyson in 2003.
Duh, right? Stu Price gets the tattoo in the movie after run-ins with Tyson in the original film and the sequel. Having a tattoo that looked like Tyson’s was the point.
Copyright is meant to protect the authors of original works, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works, according to the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright law, which was founded in 1976, gives authors the right to copy or distribute their own creative work. The work in question does not have to display the official copyright symbol or actually have been published to be protected by the law, according to my understanding of the act.
Since Tyson is in the movie, it seems he could condone the use of the tattoo, but apparently there’s some debate on whether the permanent art belongs to the inked or the inker.
This is not the first tattoo copyright lawsuit, but a verdict on enforcement has not been reached.
What do you think? Does a tattoo artist have creative license of his/her original artwork, even though it’s on someone else’s body? What if a person gives the tattoo artist a sketch of what he/she wants and the artist then recreates his/her artistic vision through a tattoo?