Copyright, in your face!

Iron Mike

cc-by-sa

Just had to point to this copyright litigation over Mike Tyson’s face tattoo.  I hope this doesn’t settle – I really want to read the judge’s fair use analysis.

Seriously though, what a fascinating context for copyright.  Could a court order a tattoo removed or covered if it infringed another’s copyright?  Can a tattoo artist really assert exclusive rights when the medium in which their work is fixed is the skin of another human being?  What counts as “making money” from a tattoo?  Does a tattoo – especially one on the face – become part of the bearer’s persona so as to implicate their exclusive right of publicity?

See?  Copyright is awesome.