Athletes’ Tattoo Artists File Copyright Suits, Leaving Indelible Mark

TAM Blog

By Jacob Gersham

P1-BQ442_TATTOO_G_20140616155120 Carlos Condit, who has a lion tattoo on his rib cage, gives a knee to Nick Diaz. Associated Press

Randy Harris worries that lawyers are leaving a stain on the tattoo world.

A court tattooist to basketball royalty, Mr. Harris says he has inked dozens of NBA players, drawing everything from a giant tree on Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis, to a beady-eyed owl on Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, to a basketball-toting angel on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

Recently, he has found himself shaking his head at the litigious direction of his image-conscious occupation as the question of who owns a tattoo has become a source of tension.

To him, it’s simple: “Once they paid for the tattoos, man, they paid for it,” he said from his shop south of Atlanta.

Other tattooists say the issue isn’t that clear, especially in the case…

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