Tattoo artist sued by photographer for copyright infringement
A photographer has recently sued celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D over copyright infringement and artistic interpretation. In this one-of-a-kind lawsuit, Von D had tattooed the likeness of an iconic photograph of jazz great Miles Davis onto a person, which gained much traction on social media. In 2021, the photographer who took that picture filed a copyright infringement suit against Von D.
"Essentially he's saying that the tattoo is substantially similar to his photograph of Miles Davis and therefore Kat Von D has committed copyright infringement," said Aaron Moss, a copyright attorney in California.
While the case is set to go into trial, as decided by a federal judge in California, Von D has insisted that her version of the photograph is transformative of the original image.
"It's Miles Davis with his finger to his mouth and admittedly, even Kat Von D used the photograph as a reference photograph, but ultimately put her spin on it and the question for the jury would be, did she do enough to change it?" said Kristelia Garcia, who teaches intellectual property, copyright and patent law at the University of Colorado.
"A finding of infringement would effectively make a public display of the tattooed person's arm an act of infringement," Amelia Brankov, a copyright lawyer not involved in the case, told Artnet News in June. "This could give pause to tattoo artists who are asked to ink third-party imagery on their clients."
The present case will severely affect the tattoo industry across the US and will lead to enormous potential ramifications for tattoo artists