Copyright Office Says Tattoo Artist’s Work Can Be Protected

Takeaway: The Federal Copyright Office has determined that a tattoo artist’s contributions to designs make them eligible for copyright protection.

The U.S Copyright Office has responded to a dispute between tattoo artist James Hayden and Take-Two Interactive, a gaming company, regarding the use of copyrighted tattoo designs in the NBA 2K video game series. The response states that the tattoo artist’s contributions to two designs make them eligible for copyright protection, even though the Copyright Office wouldn’t have registered the designs if they contained significant public domain or third-party material. The Office approved supplementary registration for two of the designs after excluding such material. Hayden’s claims can now continue forward against the gaming company in this suit.