Sunday, December 30, 2018

Tattoo Troubles

Would you permanently affix someone else's copyrighted intellectual property onto your body, so that  you might have to pay that copyright owner royalties every time you exposed their property to public view in the course of your own commercial activity?

If you have artwork "inked" onto your skin, you might be in that situation.  If you write about a hero or heroine with tattoos, they might have interesting problems.

Nicole Smalberger, writing for the South African legal firm Adams & Adams explains the complex legal issues around original ink art in "Listen: Who owns the copyright to the tattoo on your body." When you pay for your tattoo, you pay for the placement of the artwork but not for the copyright of the art.

If you aspire to fame, and may one day be photographed as part of your business activities, be sure to buy the rights to whatever permanently decorates your face or bod.

Whatever would be the situation if you got the lyrics of your favorite pop song tattooed on your back? You'd be a walking infringement of the pop singer-songwriter's copyright.

Happy 2019

Rowena Cherry

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