No. 11

Tattoos, Mike Tyson, Movies and Copyright!

If you’ve seen The Hangover Part II, you will know that one of the main characters, Stu Price, wakes up after a night out in Bangkok with a tattoo on his face. This tattoo was exactly the same as Mike Tyson’s and alluded to his cameo appearance in the original, The Hangover, film.

Warner Bros. Entertainment would not have been expecting the original tattoo artist, S. Victor Whitmill to bring a copyright infringement suit against them as they tried to showcase this famous tattoo. Whitmill, who did Tyson’s tattoo in 2003 and subsequenctly obtained copyright which covered “artwork on 3-D”, saw the copy of the tattoo as copyright infringement. Warner Bros. claimed that they used the tattoo as a parody which constitutes fair use.

This dispute was resolved in an agreement of undisclosed terms but a judge in the Eastern District of Missouri did rule that Whitmill had a case to argue.

We think it’s a good idea to double check before copying another person’s tattoo!

If you’d like to learn more about the unusual legal battle over a tattoo, please click here.