Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Tattoos and Copyright - Again

At the end of 2018, the New York Times published "Athletes Don’t Own Their Tattoos. That’s a Problem for Video Game Developers." This is a story that is told periodically because of the popularity of tattoos and the ongoing lawsuits about them being displayed in video games.  Many athletes get tattoos before they are famous and before they in a players' union, which can give them advice.
Players’ unions, many of which license the players’ likenesses to video game publishers, and sports agents have advised athletes to secure licensing agreements before they get tattooed.
The need to acquire a licensing agreement before getting tattooed is important for anyone who is famous.  For some, that might mean going back and getting an agreement for an older tattoo.

For those who have no plans on being famous, you still might want to think about who owns your tattoo, especially those that are not from flash sheets or stencils.  For example, will the artist be agreeable if you decide to alter the tattoo in the future? I know that could be an awkward conversation to have, but you might approach it in terms of what the tattoo artist's expectations are of their work and that work's future.

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