Are you getting a Tattoo done? Looking for a design? Think before you copy a design for your tattoo, as Tattoos do have copyrights. Yes, you read it right! Copyright issues are present while dealing with Tattoos unless they are custom made exclusively for you by the artist. These custom made Tattoos of yours are the Intellectual Property of the artist.
According to the Law, “Copyright protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form of expression” and this also includes SKIN. The Copyright owner will have the exclusive right to control the reproduction, distribution, and public display of the work, this doesn’t mean the Tattoo cannot be shown to public without the owner’s permission. It actually means that the Tattoo cannot be used for commercial purpose without the owner’s permission.
For example, when the sequel of the movie Hangover was released, one of the actors was sporting a copy of Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo in the film and the image was used for movie promotion. The Tattoo owner/artist of Mike Tyson, Victor Whitmill, held responsible for infringing his design. In this case, Mike Tyson had signed an agreement announcing that Whitmill alone is the owner of the Tattoo.
As stated by the Law, the owner of the Copyright may be authorized to an award for damages as a result of infringement.
Hence, the only best way to avoid copyright infringement of Tattoos is by inking the custom made designs by the artist or yourself. If custom made, a written agreement has to be made between the artist and the customer specifying who owns the rights. Else ways, Tattoos could be painful to both recipient and the artist.