Copyrighting tattoos

Copyright Registration for Tattoo
By registering her tattoo, Amina has sought to protect her rights as well as educate people that custom tattoos hold deep meaning to many and should never be copied. She’s also sending a message to unscrupulous tattooists who tattoo the designs of others that they will suffer financial damage as well as damage to reputation. “You better be believing that if the tattoo is plagiarized again, I will be sending my lawyer to the courthouse.”
(via Fleshbot (NSFW))

Never mind that this tattoo was based on, of all things, Pirates of the Caribbean artwork. Considering that Disney is almost singlehandedly responsible for the current state of US copyright law, you’d think that if there was a copyright claim to be made here they would have done it themselves.

This is actually an old story, but it’s come up again now because the tattoo owner just got her copyright paperwork back. Last year, Shannon Larratt, who otherwise gets a lot of respect as the founder of BME, wrote about this in September, calling tattoo copying “theft” and “a kind of emotional rape”. He also included what some might take as a thinly-veiled threat: “If this was 1989, your shop would be burned to the ground”. Nice.

Dianna at Snoqualmie, summed this one up last September, so I won’t bother now, except to quote her:
I take issue specifically with the assertion that copying someone else’s design which is itself a copy of something already extant amounts to “emotional rape”. It’s a bit like saying that if I draw an elephant and hang the drawing on my wall, and someone else draws my drawing of the elephant and hangs it on their wall, they’ve not only stolen my elephant, they’ve stolen my soul.


angeldye says:

seriously, she can just suck it. I can understand if the tattoo artwork was honestly original and not a HINT or trace of some other artwork was in there – but to pitch a fit like this.. well – then she needs to take a look at prolly the million other people that went out and got a tattoo like hers right after pirates.

I’d be upset yeah, if someone horked mine – as I’ve actually DRAWN 3 of them. One of them – I went in with the concept and the artist went to town – But i don’t think to the point where I need to copyright myself.

double take says:

Can’t Disney sue her for registering one of their (probably trademarked) pieces of artwork as hers, and then using it to promote her career?