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2 Comments on "Copyrighting Tattoos in Sports Video Games: Can LeBron James License His Image?"

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In a landmark decision in March of 2020, federal judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled that Take Two Interactive Software’s reproduction of Lebron James’ tattoos was fair use and does not infringe on Solid Oak Sketches’ copyrights. Solid Oak Sketches, LLC v. 2K Games, Inc., 449 F. Supp. 3d 333, 353 (S.D.N.Y. 2020). Because the balance of fairness is extremely fact-sensitive, it must be analyzed on a case by case basis. Evaluation of a fair use defense does not hinge on a bright-line rule but is an exploration of four factors: (1) the purpose and character of the use; (2) the… Read more »
So far, the courts have had no problem ruling that the tattoo art design itself is copyrightable and consumes the full scope of protection under copyright law as other copyrightable subject matters. See Tattoo Art, Inc. v. TAT Int’l LLC, 498 Fed. Appx. 341 (4th Cir. 2012) (deciding that a licensee of tattoo art designs infringed the licensor’s copyrights by displaying altered versions of the designs on a website and by continuing to display the designs after the license was terminated.) However, the courts still resist holding that the tattoos on the human body are also copyrightable. See Solid Oak… Read more »