PART II: Are Tattoos Protected by Copyright?

Men tattooing a person.

As detailed in Part I of this blog post, despite the fact that Canadian courts have not yet grappled with a case related to copyright and tattoos, the Copyright Act and foreign caselaw suggests that copyright very likely subsists in tattoos and that the rights to tattoos most likely reside with the tattoo artists who design and ink the tattoos on individuals’ skin. This copyright can create a host of legal problems for tattooed individuals, particularly public figures whose tattoos could end up on display and recreated across many different platforms. Continue reading for a discussion of some of the options available to those individuals who are concerned about the consequences of not owning their own tattooed image.

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PART I: Are Tattoos Protected by Copyright?

Men tattooing a person.

Updated October 18th, 2022

As tattoos have become increasingly common, the question of whether copyright subsists in a tattoo and what that means has come to the forefront of the copyright conversation. The deep personal connection that many people feel towards the permanent ink on their skin does not change the fact that the authorship and ownership of most tattoo designs most likely does not reside with the bearers of the tattoos, but rather with the tattoo artists. This fact creates a number of issues that can range from relatively simple problems, such as tattooists being prevented from using other tattooists’ designs on others, to complicated issues, such as large video game companies being unable to recreate accurate depictions of real tattooed celebrities who have given the companies permission to use their likenesses in games.

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IP Protection in the Artemis Era: Will Rights be Lost in Space?

Nebula Abstract background

One clear objective of Nasa’s Artemis missions is to bring about a permanent presence on the Moon that will include commercial and industrial projects. The potential for commercial and industrial activity on the moon is well-known. The range is vast, including the extraction of oxygen from lunar debris (regolith), solar farming, the extraction of hydrogen and water, the extraction of minerals (including critical minerals) and their use as building materials. Activities on the moon are seen as key to paving the way to human presence on Mars, including by having certain resources already present on the moon to facilitate their use and transport at a lesser cost to Mars. 

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Are Disney’s live action remakes extending the copyright of their animated movies?

a Tiara and glass slipper with the forest in the background.

During a time when Disney’s copyright protection over some of their most classic works is either nearing an end or has already ended in certain countries like Canada, it may seem oddly coincidental that Disney has begun to create live action remakes of many of their most iconic films.

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