Non-Conventional Copyright
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Non-Conventional Copyright

Do New and Atypical Works Deserve Protection?

Edited by Enrico Bonadio and Nicola Lucchi

This book draws a picture of possible new spaces for copyright. It expands on whether modern copyright law should be more flexible as to whether new or unconventional forms of expression - including graffiti, tattoos, land art, conceptual art and bio art, engineered DNA, sport movements, jokes, magic tricks, dj-sets, 3D printing, works generated by artificial intelligence, perfume making, typefaces, illegal and immoral works - deserve protection. The contributors offer authoritative, coherent and well-argued essays focusing on whether copyright can subsist in these unconventional subject matters.
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Chapter 5: Copyright protection of tattoos

Yolanda M. King

Abstract

In the United States, artists increasingly claim federal copyright protection for subject matter that does fit within traditional conceptions of creativity. Tattoos have recently emerged as one of the most controversial and publicized forms of expression. Tattoos push the boundaries of copyrightable subject matter due to, among other challenges, the unique tension between protection of art and recognition of the autonomy of the person who will bear that art. This chapter investigates whether modern U.S. copyright law should be more adaptable to the protection of this unconventional form of expression. It examines the requirements for copyright protection for tattoos and the complexities of their authorship. The chapter concludes that copyright law should be interpreted to protect tattoos.

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