ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Kat Von D Sued for Copyright Infringement over Miles Davis Tattoo

Cross-posted from Billboard, CopyrightLately, Truth Sleuth/YouTube, and via PhotoShelter.  [By Claudia Rosenbaum, Aaron Moss, and Katie Scholz]

“In a new case, a photographer claims that celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D infringed his copyright in an iconic photo of Miles Davis by tattooing the same image onto a client’s body.

Dozens of photography-related copyright cases are filed every week, so I typically only write about ones that I find particularly interesting or unusual. A new complaint against controversial celebrity tattoo artist Katherine Von Drachenberg (aka Kat Von D) checks the boxes on both counts. While perhaps not as provocative as the time she was sued by her insurance company for starting a house fire that killed her cat, as far as copyright lawsuits go, it’s still pretty good.

The lawsuit was filed by California photographer Jeff Sedlik, who owns the copyright in a photo of legendary jazz musician Miles Davis. Here’s Sedlik’s photo, which was first published as part of a cover story for JAZZIZ magazine in 1989.

Sedlik’s portrait has since become an iconic representation of Davis. It was featured by Life magazine in its annual “Pictures of the Year” issue, and has also been affixed to posters, t-shirts and art prints, all licensed by Sedlik.”

Kat Von D Sued for Copyright Infringement over Miles Davis Tattoo

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