Copyright & Tattoos?

New questions about copyright have arisen in relation to the new movie, The Hangover Part II.  Tattoo artist, S. Victor Whitmill, claims that Warner Brothers has infringed upon his rights by featuring the tattoo he designed for Mike Tyson on a character in the movie.  Here's a clip from the New York Times article about the case:

“Mr. Whitmill has never been asked for permission for, and has never consented to, the use, reproduction or creation of a derivative work based on his original tattoo,” argues the lawsuit, which was filed April 28, and will be taken up next week. 

The suit isn’t frivolous, however, legal experts say. They contend the case could offer the first rulings on tricky questions about how far the rights of the copyright holder extend in creations that are, after all, on someone else’s body. They are questions likely to crop up more often as it becomes more common for actors or athletes to have tattoos and as tattoo designs become more sophisticated.

Read the full article, "On Tyson’s Face, It’s Art. On Film, a Legal Issue."

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