Once again, Take-Two and 2K Games are facing a lawsuit over tattoos, only this time it's not NBA 2K but WWE 2K, as a disgruntled tattoo artist filed a lawsuit over Randy Orton's tattoos.
The lawsuit was filed by tattoo artist Catherine Alexander, who inked six of Orton's tattoos a while back. The lawsuit includes WWE entertainment company, as well as 2K's studios Visual Concepts and Yuke's, and the all-encompassing nature of the lawsuit means the latter's departure from the video game franchise is irrelevant.
It turns out that Alexander contacted WWE back in 2009, when they were about to launch faux sleeve products for fans to wear in support of their favourite wrestlers.
Unfortunately, WWE were not forthcoming, to put it mildly. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Alexander said at the deposition, "The person laughed at me and said I had no grounds, and they can do what they want with his images".
After an Illinois federal judge reached a summary judgement that states that WWE and Take-Two did copy her work. What remains now is for a jury to decide whether this constitutes copyright infringement.
Take-Two and their subsidiaries got off easy the last time around, as the judge dismissed the case against NBA 2K's depictions of LeBron James, Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe and their tattoos. Their usage was determined to have constituted fair use, but this time around it wasn't the case.
Namely, Take-Two's defense again invoked the de minimis concept, which in layman's terms means that the copyrighted material is pretty trivial in the game, as Orton is neither the only one, nor do his tattoos feature so prominently.