Sports Tattoos and Copyright Issues

sports tattooFor sports enthusiasts, a sports tattoo is a way to show loyalty to their team. Some choose to have a more universal tattoo design such as football, basketball, flaming soccer ball, hockey sticks, and the like. Others choose to have the number of their favourite player as tattoo design. Sports tattoos mean that a fan takes great pride in a particular team, thus tattooing the logo, team mascot, or team colours on the skin.

However, one should be aware that there are also legal issues associated with having sports tattoos or any tattoo for that matter. There are some who say that you can be sued for having a logo tattoo. Let us look at the meanings of copyright and trademark. Copyright gives the original creator the exclusive rights to the work, usually for a limited time. This includes producing copies of the work, displaying the work publicly, selling these rights to others, financially benefiting from it and other related rights. A trademark is a distinctive sign, logo, symbol, image, word, phrase, or any combination of these that is used by an individual or organization as a distinguishing attribute.

For tattoos being used by sports fans, the truth is that the law is not really clear on the issue. While it is possible to get sued over the copyright on a sports tattoo, one can argue that this is simply a case of fanaticism. Some would say a fan tattoo would fall under fair use and there is no financial gain associated with it. Fans simply do the most outrageous things, even to the point of permanently marking their skin. Arguably, this cannot be construed as using the team logo or sports image for commercial purposes.

In reality, most teams would not really bother pursuing fan tattoos. Unless you are really popular or making big money out of it, none of these bigwigs may really give much attention to your sports tattoos.

Having a sports tattoo may seem offbeat to others but for fans and sports enthusiasts, the thrill of being with the crowd, the excitement of the game, and the connection with the team makes it meaningful to have the tattoo design. Just be cautious and be aware of the legal issues associated with these before risking to get inked.