Avoiding Copyright Liability For Tattoo Depiction In Media

Law360 (November 23, 2020, 2:49 PM EST) — The federal courts have seen a steady stream of copyright infringement litigation over media featuring professional athletes’ tattoos.[1]

Although this issue is prevalent across multiple types of media, the majority of claims have involved sports video games. This is likely because these games often depict professional sports and their athletes as realistically as possible — including their visible tattoos. Yet, until recently, every case had settled before reaching the merits.

Two recent district court decisions provide insight on when digital reproductions may infringe copyrighted tattoos.[2] The defendant in both cases is Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., which produces the professional basketball game…

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