It is difficult to define a more personalized statement or method of co-affirmation than using our body as a canvas that constantly marks our skin. Tattoo artists can be some of the most prolific producers of artwork. Their client’s tattoo compositions are more expansive and easily visible than work done in almost any other medium. However, a sufficiently detailed or rigorous analysis of tattooing activity, as well as the associated technological and socio-economic impacts, is rarely provided.
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We refer briefly to an article from New Zealand. As is most common with tattoo-related posts online, the content often serves as a promotional vehicle for inked images as a practice, and is then peppered with a few relatable quotes. [often just mainstream] artists. The results of copyrighted tattoo designs and related forms of body art, especially finished tattoo works, are worth exploring further:
“Tattoo artists call for right to copyright their work | New Zealand has an unwritten rule – decent tattoo artists don’t copy designs. The Copyright Act 1994 is currently under review and the artists behind the ink say tougher legislation could protect original tattoo designs Gordon Toi, founder of House of Natives, will advocate for tattoo protection. “I would like to see some sort of control over Maori tattooing and Polynesian tattooing… there is so much exploitation.” The original designs were often replicated overseas. He said he had spoken to a New Zealand artist .
“Skin is probably the hardest thing to copyright because everyone copies it.” Pacific Tattoo owner Tim Hunt wanted the artists to honor the meaning of Maori and Pacific cultural patterns and symbols. “Any artist can say, ‘I can make you a design that has a corus and has a Maori look,'” Hunt said.
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“But if you want something authentic, you’ll have to go elsewhere.” Tattoo artists abroad sue when their designs appear on media such as television. In 2011, the artist of Mike Tyson’s Maori-inspired face tattoo sued Warner Bros. for depicting similar face art on the character in The Hangover: Part II. If copyright law protected cultural images, Hunt would respect the change. “I want more tattoo artists to stand up and say, ‘I don’t know enough about this, I don’t know the history behind it, and I don’t know the context behind it.'” Tattoo artists abroad are repeating images without thinking.
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New Zealand was different, he said. “It’s kind of an unspoken code in New Zealand that you don’t do that.” Hunt believed that the tattoo belonged to the client, not the artist. Craigy Lee, owner of Union Tattoo, agreed that there is an unwritten code of conduct for not copying a custom tattoo. Decent artists wouldn’t dare cash in on someone else’s design, he said. Alex Sims, associate professor at the University of Auckland, said technically what was happening in New Zealand now was likely copyright infringement under the banner of a work of art. However, Sims cautioned against strict enforcement of copyright laws on tattoos, which could require removing tattoos, preventing tattoos from appearing in movies and advertisements, or removing tattoos from social media.”This would give the copyright holder the power to control the images. about, that would be extremely uncomfortable and just wrong.”
Tattoo versus art
A distinction must be made between copyrighted and applied tattoo art for use in the tattoo world. We are looking for professional practitioners who use tattooing as a sustainable, primary means of income.
Tattoo artists may have many images and other media content that has not yet been applied, such as designs, compositions, sketches, or custom artwork. Like representations of various traditional art forms, they are relatively easy to record and upload, allowing for a clear digital representation of copyright ownership.
Separately, tattoo artists usually have a portfolio of tattoo pieces that are worn by clients. Using a three-dimensional canvas introduces complexities for automated digital identification. In copyright tracking software for multiple images, a single placement can completely override research methods. While Instagram and alternative photo upload databases offer some time-stamped verification, it can reduce subsequent source and ownership attribution due to their relatively open editable structures. Documenting the artwork produced by the embroiderer on leather or another type of canvas is the first practical difference.
Artist vs technician
The groupings serve as specific starting categories for the tattoo industry to adequately address copyright considerations. On one side of the creative spectrum of tattoo art are tattoo artists who only practice their own style and technique.
A tattoo artist’s creations are independently recognized as “theirs,” rejecting considerations of how a tattoo artist’s styles and aesthetics are derived or inspired. In a sense, the tattoo artist has a stylistic monopoly.
In proportion to other creative mediums, the tattoo artist has a special vision, knowledge or experience that cannot be easily replaced by another or another. Therefore, a tattoo artist can be classified as one who practices tattooing to convey a unique style or to perpetuate a single aesthetic or technique.
Tattoo artists may have different portfolios of completed, tattooed, work. Although the tattoos on such portfolios cannot be exactly replicated, such unique quality attributes are primarily due to their placement on a custom canvas, that is, completely on an individual person. The appropriate result is an order rather than an isolation of the composition. Similarly, such forging works are formed in special, often unrepeatable proportions. The resulting tattoo can indeed be faithfully replicated by any number of other tattoo technicians, albeit on a different exclusive canvas.
In proportion to skilled technicians in any field, a tattoo artist can be replaced with no natural loss or impairment of results. A technician is a tattoo artist who is physically and technically capable of applying tattooing categories, but may do so without distinction in terms of uniform style, size, technique, aesthetic, or design. The limiting factor here is ability rather than artistic temperament or vision.
Tradition vs technique
Tattoo artists can be considered [as just two examples from millions] Ondrash continues the culturally rich art of tebori, bringing a unique aesthetic to Horioshi III in Japan. Another notable distinction is the demarcation of copyrighted unique compositions, as opposed to reproductions of traditional iconography, both of which are solely under the jurisdiction of the tattoo artist.
As with any configuration in the more classically mainstream mediums of painting, such a dichotomy does not mean that tattoo art itself does not necessarily fall neatly into one direction. As with all artistic pursuits, sources of inspiration as well as subjectively reasoned conclusions that the same compositions, labeled as “homage” by some or “stealing” by others, somehow have an objective quality. As is often said, good artists copy – great artists steal. In practical terms, a tattoo artist who produces traditionally inspired work may automatically and logically be prevented from copyrighting art tattooed from the human canvas.
Copyrights and claims
Copyright registration can have two purposes. First, it functions as an externally validated recognition of authorship commissioned or attributed by a third party. It adds credibility, weight or authority to the content. At the very least, it’s an item that often lends itself to sale prices.
Second, the purpose of copyright ownership registration may be preparation for cataloging procedures when formalized legal protection is initiated. However, these procedures require the infringer(s) to be identified, engaged, refused registration, and then successfully convicted in a limited manner by their geographically applicable court(s). The amount of payment owed depends on the exact identification of the infringer, the documented use of the owned content, the culpability determined by the response, and the achievable legal consequences, determined in part by the physical location. All are noteworthy complicating factors.
Recognition and protection
It was found common for one tattoo artist to use another’s designs or even a completed tattoo portfolio. While a large portion of accredited tattoo art is searchable online, the sheer volume available through disparate sources frustrates the pursuit of a single point. [i.e. one tattooist’s] lending. Illegal or unauthorized use of tattoo work may only be in printed or offline portfolios as shown to studio clients. Tattoos are often considered individually and serve as a personal art form.
The online display and thus essentially public “registration” of tattooed works may be purposefully non-existent. His owner could demand it.
These factors translate directly into the ability of tattoo artists dealing directly with individual clients to be potentially quite liberal in their statements of completed work, as well as, in addition, their claimed tattoo experience or expertise.
In practice, the motives or impetus for copyright registration of tattoo works is more broadly applied to the tattoo artist and perhaps only as a form of registration of completed portfolios to the technician. While the rewards or penalties available to copyright infringers are far from predictable, focusing on digitally time-stamping both tattoo art and portfolios through blockchain verification is a first step toward ensuring authenticity. But the creator used now has an immutable, single-source justification of ownership.
As with the technology’s decentralized capacity, the ability to redistribute trust to individual sources as opposed to ‘hubs’ is tantamount to potentially enabling a new standard of work verification. It is very important for the customer in the process selection. The implications and benefits of copyright ownership through blockchain for tattoo artists are also significant.
Article cited above: May 28, 2018 by Amber-Leigh Wolf on Stuff