Google Copycats: This Industry’s Biggest Thieves
Once again, someone’s stolen from our friends at Inkslingers, Newcastle. Without going into details, this isn’t the first time this has happened, not at all. Every day, someone new goes to a tattoo artist, or even a scratcher, and shows them someone else’s tattoo to copy. Why would anyone want someone else’s tattoo on their body?
Right now the tattoo industry is under more attack from people stealing designs than ever bef0re- mainly due to the Internet. “Tattoo designs” is one of the most popular serch terms Google has ever seen. There are websites such as BME and Rate My Tattoo that encourage people to post up pictures of their tattoos- pictures that can easily be stolen for someone else’s use.
The Internet has made it easier than ever to take a picture of someone else’s tattoo to a tattooist to copy- and for some strange reason, some tattooists have no problem with copying the design. Is it because they have limited artistic ability? Do they see the picture as an easy £50 to make? Do they have no respect for tattoo art? Whatever the reason, they’re just as guilty, if not sometimes more.
Take the above image, for example- the picture on the left being the original. The tattoo’s actual owner probably left their tattoo studio on their final sitting for that tattoo feeling pretty good about themselves. They probably thought that forever no one else in the world would have their beautiful tattoo, custom done to his body and preferences. I can imagine how angry I’d be if I saw someone else with my tattoo afterwards.
So, how can we stop it? Well, sometimes we just can’t, I’m afraid. However, there are some ways to try:
- Angle your photos- sure, you can still go to a site like tattoo.tv and put up as many photos of your tattoos as you like- but I’d take pictures that make it hard to copy your tattoo. The harder you make it for them to see the full piece, the harder it’ll be to copy. Of course, for some of you that’s just not an option, I know you like showing off, and so you should!
- Watermark your images- watermarking won’t stop people from taking the picture to a studio, however it may deter the tattooist, knowing this is someone’s work that they definitely don’t have permission to use. A watermark is one of those “I mean business” statements, more than anything- a fantastic idea for those who draw flash designs.
- Be careful where your images are being uploaded to- One application review for iPhone app TatTap is a guy thanking them for pictures to take to a studio- do you want your pictures there?
- Make sure to go to a custom tattoo studio- I’ve said this a million times and can’t stress it enough, but there it is again, folks. A custom tattoo studio should never even think about taking work from someone else.
Okay, another quite long article there, so congratulations if you’re still here! Remember: if you steal someone else’s design, you’ve stolen from a tattoo artist that could have spent hours of their free time painstakingly drawing the perfect tattoo design for their customer- time that now seems poorly spent, since their tattoo design is no longer original, forever.
For more information on tattoo designs and copywright, I hear there’s an article in the latest issue of Skin Deep Magazine (November 2009)