The jury ruled that Kat Von D did not infringe on the photographer’s copyright
A jury found Friday that celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D did not infringe on a photographer’s copyright when she used her portrait of Miles Davis as the basis for a tattoo she put on a friend’s arm.
A Los Angeles jury deliberated for just two hours before deciding that the tattoo of the former star of the reality shows “Miami Ink” and “LA Ink” was not similar enough to photographer Jeffrey Sedlik’s 1989 picture of the jazz legend he had to do. paid permit.
“I’m obviously very happy for this to be over,” Von D, who wrote on his friend’s arm with Davis as a gift about seven years ago, said outside court. “It’s been a nightmare worrying about this for two years, not just for myself but for my fellow tattoo artists.”
The eight jurors made the same decision regarding a drawing Von D made from a photograph based on the tattoo, and several social media posts he made about the process, which are also part of Sedlik’s lawsuit. . And they knew that the tattoo, drawing and posts all fell under the legal doctrine of fair use of a copyrighted work, giving Von D and other tattoo artists who supported him and followed the trial a resounding victory.
“We’ve said all along that this case never should have been brought,” Von D’s attorney Allen B. Grodsky said after the verdict. “The jury recognized that it was just ridiculous.”
Sedlik’s attorney, Robert Edward Allen, said they plan to appeal. He said the images, which both show a close-up of Davis looking at the viewer and making a “shh” gesture, are so similar that he doesn’t know how jurors could reach the conclusion they did.
“If those two things aren’t exactly the same, then there’s no safe art,” Allen said.
He told jurors in closing arguments Friday that the case “has nothing to do with tattoos.”
“It’s about copying someone else’s protected works,” Allen said. “It’s not going to hurt the tattoo industry. The tattoo police aren’t going after anybody.”