Body Modification: The Case of Tattoo Copyright


  • R. Brandon Rudyk University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • William R. Davie University of Louisiana at Lafayette



This paper explores the now-dismissed case of Louisiana artist, Stephen Allen v. Electronic Arts, Inc., & Ricky Williams. This case, filed on December 31st 2012, went before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. No ruling was reached but the application of contradictory precedents indicates the need for clarification. Additionally, fairness requires that the 1976 Copyright Act be revised in order to allow for art that falls within a “gray” area of the artistic world. This paper argues that the 1989 Supreme Court landmark case of Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid demonstrates in its application of the balancing test for determining the relationship between “employee” and “work made for hire” status that athletes should be forewarned of the potential for litigation when it comes to their body artwork.


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