Who Owns Your Tattoo?

In a meeting with global agency holding company legal reps yesterday the rights issue around tattoos became a great conversation topic.

I have previously, do know and will, in the future, work with athletes. These athletes are becoming more and more A-list celebrities and on camera more than ever. And even more relevant, they are part of the marketing world as endorsers and spokespeople.

This topic was not even a conversation 10 years ago. Tattoos were related to thugs and those thugs would never help a brand appeal to their target market. Not the case any longer. Tattoos have gone from prison to artwork in no time and have become mainstream.

Imagine if you hire an artist to paint you a picture. You love her style and really have no specifics other than she do it. She comes up with the subject matter, layout, size, etc. She paints away and is very happy with it. You arrive at the studio and love it, also. And when it’s on your wall at home all your friends are amazed and would love to hang one on their wall. So you have it scanned and print a version for them. That, legally, crossed the line. Even though you paid her to do this work and you own the paining the artist owns the intellectual property or the creative rights to the painting.

This NPR article talks about Colin Kaepernick and his tattoos. And how The wildy-popular Madden game has finally decided to add his ink, and only his, because they had right to do so. The artist that designed, illustrated and then tattooed him signed away the right to Colin.

The fact is that with any form of art – paintings, photos, sculptures, and yes, tattoos, you may own the piece but you don’t own the right to creative.

Next-level stuff now includes landmarks. If I post a pic of the Eiffel Tower I may be in the wrong. This article from the Digital Trends blog says so. Rule of thumb is that if it’s more than 15% of the skyline it may violate copyright laws.

The bottom line is that if you or your clients plan to use their likeness to make money and any of this is in question you need to consider the rights of ownership.

Who Owns Your Tattoo?

Google Glass on the NBA Hardwood

If you haven’t heard there are some NBA teams experimenting with Google Glass during practice. The concept is pretty cool.

Imagine having the exact view of the best athletes in the world. Even better having it in real time and during game time.

The idea that wearable technology becomes part of everyday NBA may be closer than you think. The league has logos on practice gear and likely having sponsored uniforms any time now. The English Premiere League has been doing it for years and they are the most popular league with most fans globally.

A sponsor is always looking for a new twist. A way to be more integrated in the action. The definition of borrowed equity changes daily. You can only sell so many banners in arena. A logo on the jersey is a huge step and will give those brands billions of impressions. But is that as impactful as sponsoring the Glass worn by Derrick Rose? And when he posterizes someone with a dunk that footage will be shown a trillion times. That piece of content will have it’s own life. Going to YouTube, SportsCenter, CNN … you name it. And then brands and agencies will be buying adds against it on that network or platform.

Or what about a crazy 3rd-screen experience? Where a fan can watch and learn from a player’s perspective. Where do they look when leading a fast break? Or on that lob pass from CP3 to Griffin? Broadcast would cut to screen-specific ads during timeouts and when he takes a break they cut to another player.

Then does the mobile experience have social sharing for the fan? In my biased opinion it must. The brand/sponsor could tag along on that ride. Millions of shares for the good stuff and more for the great stuff.

Access to players and teams is at an all-time high. And the more that player’s agents open up and look for revenue streams the more the leagues will need to allow it. Don’t get me wrong. No way does a player get away with this before the league they play in it approves it. With the sponsorship dollars the NBA counts on every year there would be a conflict for sure.

I would imagine a league like the MLS would be the first to try it. Or maybe the WNBA. Someone that is willing to stand out yet have a product on the court or field that legitimatizes the test.

I know I haven’t addressed the idea that it could impair the athlete during competition. A distraction of any kind when the biggest and best athletes are battling it out could be frowned upon. And the idea that this could help them with reminders or plays would need to be discussed. I do know that dollar signs and zeros take away some of those concerns for sure.

I sure would love to see this as a fan, marketer and tech nerd. The brands would love to be able to buy this. The leagues, players and player’s associations would thrilled with more money. So what’s the hold up?

Google Glass on the NBA Hardwood