Why copying tattoos sucks?!

Ever thought about getting the same tattoo as one of the pop stars?

Bad idea!

Would you like to wear your favorite painter’s or illustrator’s work on your body? But, did you know that you and your artist could get in trouble by copying someone else work?

Today we explain why copying tattoos suck!

Watch the video or keep reading.

Every creative industry deals with the problem of stolen content and copyrights. And there are many misconceptions about it, especially in the tattoo industry.

Legal issue of copyrighting.

Copyright protection applies to the “original works of authorship’’, both published and unpublished. This includes writing, art, music, dramatic works and other intellectual property.

The work must be tangible: Ideas, speeches, or other works that have not been written down or recorded are not subject to copyright protection.

You can see that tattoos on your skin may definitely be falling under this category. They are original works of authorship and they are tangible because they are placed on your skin.

Something you should also know about is the fact that work becomes copyrighted when it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. You don’t need to register it or make a copyright notice. The minute your artist creates the design on paper, or computer to later copy it on your skin IT BECOMES COPYRIGHTED.

Let’s have a look at 3 most popular tattoo studio situations:

1. You are looking to get a flash work.

Flash are a ready-to-go designs created by your own or other artists for the customer to pick from, the one they like most.
Tattoo artists buy them, create themselves to use, sell, or trade with one another.
Even when paid for, the original artwork still belongs to the person who created it, so it is necessary to make sure that flash you buy to use on your clients is dedicated to be used legally with the original artist’s approval.

tattoo flash copyrights

@adri_maluquer, @hanaroshinko, @daveeblows, @bk_tats

2. You bring your idea to the artist with some reference pictures and you let the artist create a custom design for you.

Depending on your input into the final result you are both owners of the copyright.
If you are wearing a custom tattoo, made exclusively for you by your artist he is the owner, giving you the right to display it. This custom status is making your tattoo the intellectual property of your artist.

Charly Huurman, Nikki Norberg, Toni Donaire

From the left: Charly Huurman, Nikki Norberg, Toni Donaire

3. You come into a tattoo studio and you bring a ready design that is either picked from the internet, book, magazine or is a photo of an artwork placed on someone else body.

Taking that design and copying it right onto your skin may be a bad idea…

DISCLAIMER:
WE ARE NOT GOING TO GO INTO A TOPIC OF REALISTIC TATTOOS AND COPYING WHAT’S ON THE PICTURE ONTO HUMAN SKIN BECAUSE IT IS THE STYLE OF TATTOOING ITSELF AND SHOULD NOT BE A PROBLEM FROM THE TATTOO INDUSTRY POINT OF VIEW. ALTHOUGH, FROM THE LEGAL POINT OF VIEW IT STILL MAY BE.

conor mcgregor tattoo chest

Conor McGregor Gorilla Chest Tattoo

Firstly, it is a bad idea because you or your artist do not own copyrights to that design. And if you didn’t know, there were a couple of famous cases regarding copyrighted tattoo designs…

Mike Tyson artist Victor Whitmill, sued Warner Bros. for copyright infringement, claiming the company prominently featured his tattoo design in The Hangover 2 and it’s advertising.

mike tyson hangover tattoo

Mike Tyson face tattoo used in Hangover 2 movie and advertising

David Beckham himself got sued by his tattooist Louis Molloy over the plans of using an angel created by him in an advertising campaign.

So still want the same tattoo as David Beckham?

Artists and their creativity.

Artists not only put a lot of time but also a lot of themselves into the designing.
Their environment, experience, who they follow and who influences them will reflect on who they are as artists. And that will also reflect on their style.

When someone steals the design from the artists, they also steal all that.

Cciga and davetattoo blog copy

Matyas Csiga Halasz and David Tevenal

For some clients tattoos mean a lot!

Sometimes they are memorial tattoos, sometimes they mark an important event in their life and sometimes express what they really love.
Some spend days or even months searching for ideas and reference pictures making sure their tattoos are going to be original and special to them. They also often wait for months to get that special tattoo designed and tattooed by this special artist who put a lot of time and heart into his work.

When you copy that design you take that deep meaning and uniqueness away from that person.

cat tattoo ideas nathan evans

So, there are two aspects of the copyrights:

– It protects the artist’s right against piracy or illegal use.
Provides additional income for artists derived from the reproduction, adaptation, distribution, performance and display of their own work.

– Secondly, it provides the incentive for artists to create.

It is an artist obligation to be original, to create, inspire and be inspired.

The fact that there is no official COPYING IS BAD statement, a label saying that copying is simply STEALING it kind of gives a permission to do so.

It has bad and good influence onto the creative industry in general. It motivates the best artists to be even more creative, to stay way ahead of the copycats with their ideas, but it also gives a permission to the less original, or beginners who just pick an easy option and copy the others.

ivana tattoo copy blog

In fact, no reputable artist would ever copy someone else’s design (unless they are realistic artists and they copy picture you want to get tattooed or have a permission of the author.) They would want to use it as an inspiration, as a reference to create something unique that will have a part of them and you in it. No matter how much time and effort it will cost them.

So, in case you still want to get someone else work tattooed on you, you should get artist and/or person’s permission to use the design and ALWAYS give then a credit.

Also, big tattoo pages not crediting artists please stop this bullshit! It is stealing too!

Tattoo copyrights important facts

About The Author

Founder of MasterPieceTattoos

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