Your body is my intellectual property.

Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 01:38 pm
Former Portland Trail Blazer Rasheed Wallace can keep that distinctive Egyptian-themed tattoo on his arm for the rest of his life.

After all, he paid $450 for it.

But that doesn't mean he can use it to hawk basketball shoes, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Portland tattoo artist who put the image on Wallace's upper right arm.

Matthew Reed from TigerLilly Tattoo and DesignWorks in Southeast Portland claims he owns the copyright for the design of the tattoo.

(full story: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/front_page/1108472204132491.xml)

As someone who makes their living photographing people, I certainly appreciate copyright laws and the protection they provide but this story really struck me as odd.

What's next? Plastic surgeons copyrighting faces? Boobs? Other body parts? Makeup artists copyrights "looks"?

What do you think of this use of copyright law?
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Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 02:05 pm
I know that the tattoo artists here copyright their designs. Makes sense to me.
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Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 04:38 pm
In a way it does make sense but most of the tattoos I've seen aren't all that original. This one does sound like it is though.

Still, I'd like to see the Nike ad - I'd like to know in what way it "features" the tattoo.
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Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 06:05 pm
I have a good friend who's a tattoo artist, emphasis on the artist. He creates the designs as well as doing the ink, amazing stuff. He's done tattoos for a lot of famous musicians and such. I can well imagine that if one of them wanted to use their tat as the cover of their album or something, he'd be annoyed. It's his art, the canvas is their skin.

Oh but is it equivalent to selling them the canvas, then? If you buy an artwork, can you do anything you want with it...?
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Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 06:14 pm
No absolutely you cannot do anything you want with it!

But a person's body, especially that of a performer is on display all of the time. The tattoo is made to be seen. It is probably great advertising for the particular artist to have it seen.

Most artist allow the work to be used with a credit - say... on a book jacket or recording. Often, a liscening fee is paid to the artist.
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Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 06:16 pm
So we're paying for the right to wear the art only and not profit from it.

I'd like to copyright my expired air Smile
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Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 06:22 pm
Hmmm. I think it's just, if there is going to be a profit, who is the true generator of the profit? If the tattoo artist is the one who makes it profitable, it seems to make sense that the tattoo artist has a say in the profit-making.

I dunno, there must be a lot of laws addressing this already and I don't know what they are. But I can easily imagine the tat-on-the-cover scenario, and I don't think it would be right for my friend to be completely out of that picture.
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Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 06:48 pm
I agree that tattooing is a true art - and one that leave no room for error! I'm amazed by what they can do.

But in a way it's almost like graffitti.

I've received a real education on graffitti lately as I've been looking for someone to paint a wall in my studio. If I see good graffitti I go in the building and ask if they can tell me who did it. I've come to learn that many graffitti artist are represented by galleries and managers. It took me a long time to find someone I could afford!

With this in mind. Pretending that I don't know what I know - If I took someone on location for a portrait and the graffitti was in the background - would I owe the artist a royalty?

If a picture of G. Bush appears somewhere does the interior designer or architect deserve a royalty?

I think this is going to be an interesting case to watch!
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Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2005 09:10 pm
Here's a similar topic - http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=45148
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Reply Mon 21 Mar, 2005 12:42 pm
I wonder if there is any update on this lawsuit...
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Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2005 08:06 am
boomerang wrote:

With this in mind. Pretending that I don't know what I know - If I took someone on location for a portrait and the graffitti was in the background - would I owe the artist a royalty?

If a picture of G. Bush appears somewhere does the interior designer or architect deserve a royalty?

I think this is going to be an interesting case to watch!

My take on your questions.

If you take a model to a public location and the graffitti was in the background then no, their would be no copyright infringement. Public domain. If this was a private artwork then most likely you would have to pay.

George Bush in a room would not require a royalty because of the background for the simple reason the main subject is George Bush.

If a tatoo is used for advertising then yes, the artist would and should be compensated due to the fact that it is his/her creation. If the owner of the arm where it is displayed bought the image then it would be different. He would need documentation where the artist has released rights to the image.

You stated in the Original Post that you are a photographer. You should be aware of the use of photographs when it comes to usage. If a photographer creates an image or pays a model to pose the photographer has complete copyright of the photographs. If a model shoot or creation is created TFP or for the interest of both parties, the photographer still holds the copyright but with limitaions and that the model can use them also with limitations. If someone were to hire a photographer to shoot something then the agent who pays owns the copyright.

If this image/tat was created by assignment for the host and paid for as such, the owner is the one wearing the tat. If this image was created and then the host asked and paid to have it applied to his body, the artist would still hold the copyright because it becomes single use so to speak. Single use would be to wear it, (like there's any choice)

Now, if there was and ad and the model was seen and you could happen to see the tat, no case. If the tat was featured then there is a case.

Hope that made sense.

Gee, first post and I'm getting all leagl like. Sorry, I am not a lawyer but I am an amature photographer that has entered the glamor photography arena lately and doing that you better know the laws.
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Reply Tue 24 May, 2005 12:07 pm
C=All rights reserved>CC=Some rights reserved
I found this article in the Scientific America, February 05 magazine.

Boomegan how would this affect what your talking about in this thread? I really don't fully understand this Creative Commons, and I don't like it much if I understood it correctly.

SA Perspective

Beyond the Big C

If William Shakespeare were working today on Broadway or in London's West End, he would be spending a lot of time with lawyers. The Bard adapted Romeo and Juliet from Arthur Brooke's poem The Tragical History of Romeo and Juliet, which Brooke, in his turn, had based on a French translation by Pierre Boaistuau of various Italian stories.

The history of creative works, whether Romeo and Juliet or the Beastie Boys' "Pass the Mic", is a chronicle of "borrowing" from others. Intellectual property lawyers might use a harsher word. But the frames of the Constitution always intended to provide owners of creative works with only limited monopolies, ensuring that the public gets the right to fashion new works from old.

Over the years, however, Congress, sometimes at the behest of media companies, has erected immense barriers to derivative works by extending repeatedly both the length and the scope of copyright protection. A copyright holder no longer has to register a new work. Any blog, poet's sonnet or even a child's crayoned drawing now receives copyright automatically. Permission in needed for replubishing or excerpting, with limited exemptions for fair use.

Copyright in its current form fails to strike a balance between the extremes of allowing total control over every work-"all rights reserved"-and an anarchic system in which pirates steal wantonly without recompense to owners. Overly strong property rights can threaten the Internet as a medium capable of fostering dynamic interchange of ideas.

In 2001 Stanford University legal scholar Lawrence Lessig set about righting this imbalance by becoming the leading force behind Creative Commons, a nonprofit group that furnishes a much needed middle ground that lets owners give up some but not all of their rights. An author still retains a copyright, but only some rights are reserved by choosing among the dozen or so free licenses, denoted by the Creative Commons's CC mark, that are available for downloading off the Web. One license permits others to use a work as long as attribution is given. Another gives the right to sample (take a snippet to mix with music or other content) as long as the entire work is not used.

Some five million Creative Commons licenses are in use. The BBC plans to license archival material to the British public without a fee as long as it is not used for commercial purposes. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology exploits the licenses to give free access to excellent online course materials. Creative Commons has started a Science Commons effort that will even explore the open licensing of technology contained in some patents. The Public Library of Science already takes advantage of one of the licenses to specify the conditions under which scientific journal articles are made available free of charge.

The Internet, as a universal publisher of sorts, needs to be more than an outlet for commercial interests. Nascent communities of artists, scientist, and nonprofits want some way to share and rework on another's intellectual output without the enormous legal burdens that come with increasingly draconian rights management. The entertainment industry has been largely silent on the issue-its idea of innovation having been the launching of lawsuits against 10-year-olds to punish music pirating. In this enviroment, the introduction of Creative Commons's middle path of "some rights reserved" is surely a welcome arrival.

The Editor
[email protected]
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