Tattoos May Bring on a Host of New Legal Complications for Athletes, Businesses

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Tattoos May Bring on a Host of New Legal Complications for Athletes, Businesses

by Anthony Caruso on September 13, 2013

Professional athletes may be accustomed to a slew of potential lawsuits stemming from sports violations, contract issues, defamation and slander, union agreements, and injuries. But a new and unexpected issue may be on the forefront that could pose new legal complications for athletes, game makers, and the sports industry: tattoos.

In recent years, a string of copyright infringement lawsuits have been brought against various organizations and businesses when they display players - and their identifying tattoos - in video games, commercials, promotional materials, and other media coverage without crediting the tattoo artist. Bloomberg recalled a 2009 case in which tattoo artist Christopher Escobedo sued game maker THQ for displaying a tattoo he created for martial arts fighter Carlos Condit in a video game. Escobedo claimed he received no recognition for an "exact replica" of his art.

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