OpinionMeister

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Who Owns Your Tattoo?

Celebrity Justice has an interesting article concerning the ownership of a tattoo. Link.
According to legal documents obtained by "CJ," Matthew Reed of Tiger Lily Tattoo and Design Works is the creator of an Egyptian-themed tattoo on Wallace's arm. Reed claims that a release, included with the documents, shows an agreement he made with Wallace back in 1998 when Wallace played for the Portland Trailblazers.

In court documents, Reed says he only charged Wallace -- who has a $57 million, five-year contract with the Pistons -- $450 for the tattoo. A low amount says the tattoo artist, considering the intricacy of the design, but Reed thought having a superstar sport his artwork would attract more business.

In fact, Reed was happy to see his work displayed on Wallace's arm during televised NBA games, but Reed says he had no idea the tattoo would have a place of prominence in a Nike ad, and he believes his copyrighted design has been infringed upon.

Reed is demanding damages and a share of the profits from the TV ad, plus interest.
I suppose it all depends on what is in that release. It is hard to believe that a multi-million-dollar NBA player would sign away less than his total ownership of a tattoo on his body to save a few hundred dollars. On the other hand, sometimes wealthy celebrities can be very cheap, as a recent John Stossel article spells out.

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