Do you have a tattoo? Or maybe a few? I have no issues with tattoos, I just have no desire to have one on my body.

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Although my wife does, and almost everyone else in my family does too. I find the types of creations that tattoo artists create are nothing less than amazing. I can't draw a picture on a piece of paper that would look recognizable, but a tattoo artist can draw a masterpiece on a person's body. That to me, is very impressive.

Here's something I never thought about. Does a tattoo artist need permission or purchase to draw something from a copyrighted photo? Has anyone ever been challenged or threatened with a lawsuit by a photographer or artist of the original work?

It has happened to celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D about a tattoo she drew on a friend's arm. According to an article on the Bloomberg Law website by Maia Spoto, Kat Von D drew a portrait of Miles Davis on a friend's arm in 2017 using a photo from Jeffrey Sedlik. He says she used his portrait of Davis as a reference without permission and used it to promote her brand through social media posts.

Does this violate copyright laws? Rolling Stone Magazine reports that Kat Von D and her lawyer appeared in court in Los Angeles on January 23, 2024, to fight claims that she violated copyright laws by drawing a portrait of the image on a friend without permission or compensation from photographer Jeffery Sedlik.

The Rolling Stone article notes that Kat Von D's version of the portrait had some different features than the original photograph., and that she made no attempt to make money on the tattoo, nor did she sell any products of the image in any way.

Whatever the jury decides, this could affect the type of work that tattoo artists will be allowed to draw when it comes to copyright materials, or what they must do for permission before ink meets skin.

Is it more an issue about promoting the tattoo work on social media outlets that is the issue, rather than the tattoo itself? If so, I would think obtaining permission and possible compensation is reasonable. After all, it's their original professional work. Your thoughts?

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