Do Copyright Laws Apply To Tattoos

With tattoos, memories get under the skin, because the introduction of color or ink into the second layer of skin creates a lifetime commitment. However, this style of body art also has a – often forgotten legal component, because copyright often applies to a tattoo to protect the creator and the work of art.

Are Tattoos Protected By Copyright Laws

If the motive of a tattoo goes beyond basic flourishes, little hearts or stars, it is possible that this reaches the necessary level of creation and enjoys the protection of copyright. According to Section 2 of the Copyright Act, it then counts as a work of art. However, this circumstance also means that the tattoo designers, as the author, owns the exploitation rights and can therefore decide on a publication.

But what are the strengths of the tattooed individual who serves as the canvas for the artwork? Since the conclusion of an agreement that deals, among other things, with the granting of rights of use has so far been more of an exception, this question cannot be answered so easily. However, with regard to copyright in a tattoo, many lawyers assume that the tattooed one receives a right to use the work even without a contractual deal, after all, the possibility of displaying the art is often also part of the purpose of body art.

Can You Copyright a Tattoo?

Selfies with a tattoo should therefore not be an issue. The situation is different, however, if you use detailed images for commercial purposes. In such a case, the tattoo designer may be able to assert claims because his copyright on the design has been violated. As an injured artist, he can, among other things, assert a claim for damages and charge a license fee for use. In order to find out how often the design in question got under the skin, the copyright grants the rights holder a right to inform.

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Both civil and criminal law measures can be taken to enforce copyright on a tattoo. An out of court settlement makes it clear to issue a warning. However, there is also the chance of reporting a copyright infringement. Since a tattoo designer usually acts commercially, they can expect a fine or imprisonment of up to five years if convicted.

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