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  • Hilary Sumner

Are Tattoos Works of Art under Copyright Law?

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

LeBron James' tattoo artist recently filed suit against the makers of NBA2K16 claiming that their use of the tattoo in the video game constitutes copyright infringement. The Plaintiff asserts that LeBron James is a "medium of expression."  But whether a live body qualifies as a medium of expression is unsettled.  One would argue that the person exhibiting the tattoo should have some right to allow the use of that tattoo in conjunction with that person's likeness.  And if a tattoo is given copyright protection could the artist enjoin the destruction or alteration of that tattoo on a person's body? 

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