Copyright in Body Art?

Interesting piece in today’s NYT about whether a tattoo can be a copyrighted work, subjecting copyists to liability if they give somebody else the same tattoo. The work in question is alleged to be an original work of authorship (although derived from Maori art) “fixed” in the “tangible medium” of MIKE TYSON’S FACE. Would this be a lawsuit, let alone a front-page NYT article, if the accused infringer wasn’t a big movie studio with a tentpole summer movie on the brink of release? Who cares! The facts would make a terrific Copyright exam hypo.

2 Responses to “Copyright in Body Art?”

  1. [...] Despite my legal interest in the copyrightability of a tattoo, I would ask the same question as did the Harvard Info Law Blog: [...]

  2. I think the fair use argument is pretty strong here. Obviously I haven’t seen the movie yet, but from what i’ve seen of the previews it looks like a parody. Putting the tattoo on the nerdy Ed Helms character’s face is clearly mocking how ridiculous it is.