Kat Von D's Miles Davis tattoo lawsuit win 'heart has been destroyed'

Los Angeles— A jury ruled Jan. 26 that celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D did not violate a photographer's copyright by using his Miles Davis portrait for a friend's arm tattoo.

After two hours of deliberation, the Los Angeles jury ruled that the tattoo by "Miami Ink" and "LA Ink" graduate Katherine von Drachenberg was not comparable enough to photographer Jeffrey Sedlik's 1989 image of the jazz great to require permission.

"I'm obviously very happy for this to be over," Von D, who gave Davis her friend's arm seven years ago, said outside the courthouse. "It's been two years of a nightmare worrying about this, not just for myself but for my fellow tattoo artists."

Von D claimed she's not excited to return to work despite the win. "I think I don't want to ever tattoo again; my heart has been crushed through this in different ways," stated. "We'll see with time." Kat Von D's lawyer calls copyright complaint 'stupid. The eight jurors agreed on Von D's portrait sketch for the tattoo and her social media posts about the procedure, which were part of Sedlik's case.

They also decided that the tattoo, drawing, and postings were fair use of a copyrighted work, giving Von D and other tattoo artists who backed her and watched the trial a total triumph.

We've said all along that this case never should have been brought," Von D's attorney Allen B. Grodsky said after the judgment. "The jury recognized that this was just ridiculous." Allen said he didn't know how the jury reached their verdict because the photographs were so similar. Both showed Davis staring at the viewer and making a "shh" motion.

If those two things are not substantially similar, then no one's art is safe," stated Allen. In closing arguments Friday, he told jurors the issue has "nothing to do with tattoos." Allen claimed "it's about copying others' protected works". "It won't damage tattooing. Nobody will be prosecuted by the tattoo police

Allen noted Sedlik's thorough preparation to set up the shot, create the lighting and ambiance, and posture Davis for the iconic portrait that appeared on JAZZIZ magazine's 1989 cover. In 1994, Sedlik registered the copyright. Later, licensing the picture to tattoo artists was a substantial portion of his income.