Bodies of Artwork (Part 1 of 4)

I’ve been promising/threatening to post some of my law analysis for some time now. For reasons that escape me, people are really interested in what I have to say about union law. So, in an effort to avoid giving the people what they want, my paper about tattoos is going to serve as a teaser.

In theory, I happen to have nailed it, as far as getting a tattoo goes. All my work is sourced from my own drawings, letterings, and handwriting – or copies I’ve made of work in the public domain. The one exception off the bat is that I’m pretty sure my little sister and I could each claim copyright in the other person’s tattoo, since we were responsible for creating the text that now graces the other person’s arm/back.

Where I really screwed this up was in the not-keeping-my-releases department. I have no idea if I handed over my copyright to the artists when they created the transfers for me.

There’s no relief for me in this paper, though there may be some in my filing cabinet. Over the next few posts, the focus is on how the entertainment industry is learning how to interact with other people’s art.

That breaks down into these parts:

-General case law relating to tattoos. Like much of my life, this mostly involves video games and football.

-The proceedings related in particular to Mike Tyson’s insane face tattoo in Hangover 2, plus, what it means that they put it onto Ed Helms’ face too.

-Bridget Woodbury (and maybe some back-up experts) analyzing the hell out of all of it.

I’m leaving academic citations in the excerpts and I’ll throw that information up with the analysis.

DISCLAIMERS: As I said, I wrote the paper in the course of my graduate study. The full version is available upon request. Bear in mind that I am not a lawyer and my speculation about the law – as A-worthy as it may have been – is not legal advice. Call someone with a more mainstream post-grad degree.

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