Tattoos and the Copycat effect

Tattoos and the Copycat effect

Have you ever had an original design copied?

29 July 2022


Let's start by getting on topic, what is the Copycats?

This is what a “contagion” effect is called when we talk about a real or fictitious event that is replicated massively. That is, when one or several imitators aspire to behave in the same way as a model x.

Tattoo copycats

The phenomenon of copycats refers to copying striking and popular models that are like "registered trademarks" characteristic of a particular style, trend, etc. This occurs in many disciplines and obviously the tattoo is not far behind.

We have already spoken about copyright to protect artists, especially about artists, and there is little publicity about the legislations that protects tattoos.

There are many tattoo artists who create their original and talented designs from scratch, but there are also many others who take advantage of the finished drafts and they use them without consequences.

This is plagiarism, or the copycat effect.

Benefits and risks of publishing your designs on the social media

Tattoo artists today use social networks as the main tool for displaying and disseminating their work. These platforms are very beneficial, since they offer an easy way to become known by the great public to value their work. However, not all that glitters is gold.

As a consequence of the great expansion on Instagram or Pinterest, many original designs are replicated by a huge number of people without necessarily "stealing" it.

It can be said that the tattoo designs of highly reputable artists are mainly imitated, since they are quality drawings and highly requested by the clientele.

Those who copy them are usually small tattoo artists, which do not have a greater repercussion “when you post a tattoo design on Instagram, it is everywhere, and you almost expect it to be copied somewhere. It happens every day. But no renowned artist copies the work of another artist” says Avalon Todaro, a Melbourne based artist.

Copycat is a controversial concept and because some designs are just "inspired" by another artist's tattoo. This is difficult to tell.

It’s all about comparing the similarities to see if it’s plagiarism, copying most of the lines of the drawing in an identical way, or if it contains only the essence and some other characteristics that were generated as a tribute to the original piece.

“if a tattoo has been copied line by line, which is really discouraging, but there is nothing wrong with being inspired. People can show the design to their local tattoo artist and find the original artist or redraw the concept to make it unique,” ​​adds Todaro.

The truth is that, since information on what to do about it in a copyright infringement situation is not common knowledge, copycats occur on a daily basis.

But although the consequences of civil legislation is not commonly resorted to (only in some cases), there is always a repercussion of social cancellation in which the community of artists repudiates plagiarism with the help of other Instagram users who decide to join the action.

That way, the reputation of any artists who copies any design is compromised.


Respect among artists is crucial to live in harmony within the tattoo culture. It is not a crime to admire the works made by a colleague, as long as it is done correctly.

We recommend that when you want to honour the design of an artist you admire or simply want to use one of their designs as inspiration, we should ask them, so we do not infringe copyright regulations and above all, we can keep their recognition intact in the original work, and value the work done.


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