You might own your dance moves, but you definitely don’t own your tattoos. But can you effectively sub-license them?
Any creative illustration “fixed in a tangible medium” is eligible for copyright, and, according to the United States Copyright Office, that includes the ink displayed on someone’s skin. What many people don’t realize, legal experts said, is that the copyright is inherently owned by the tattoo artist, not the person with the tattoos.
For most people, that is not a cause for concern. Lawyers generally agree that an implied license allows people to freely display their tattoos in public, including on television broadcasts or magazine covers. But when tattoos are digitally recreated on avatars in sports video games, copyright infringement can become an issue.Athletes Don’t Own Their Tattoos. That’s a Problem for Video Game Developers.
And this is not the first time this has been an issue.