Mike Tyson’s tattoo artist, the man who gave the famous boxer his distinctive facial tattoo, is suing Warno Bros. over the similar-looking skin art on Ed Helms’ character in the upcoming film, The Hangover Part 2.
S. Victor Whitmill is an award-winning tattoo artist who says that Tyson’s tattoo is “one of the most distinctive tattoos in the nation,” and is asking for an injunction to stop the release of the highly anticipated comedy film, which is set to open over Memorial Day weekend.
Apparently Whitmill owns the artwork done on Tyson’s face, and thus the copyright for the “Original Tattoo.” The complains says, “Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. – without attempting to contact Mr. Whitmill, obtain his permission, or credit his creation – has copied Mr. Whitmill’s Original Tattoo and placed it on the face of another actor. This unauthorized exploitation of the Original Tattoo constitutes copyright infringement.”
Though Warner Bros. declined to comment on the suit, it seems as though Whitmill may have a case – the designs do look very similar, and the tattoo on Helms’ character appears to be a direct comedic reference to Tyson, who appeared extensively in the first film. Further, copyrighted works are copyrighted works, regardless of where they are – be it a painting on a wall or a tattoo on someone’s face. In the suit, Whitmill attached his copyright registration for the “Original Tattoo,” along with Tyson’s signed release granting rights to the work.
Speculation says that Warner Bros. may argue either that the design was changed just enough to dodge copyright issues, or that it’s a parody.
Whitmill is also challenging the use of the image in ad materials and trailers.
Posted by Jena
4/29/2011 3:20 PM