Tattoo Artist Sues Warner Bros. for Copyright Infringement of Tattoo in "The Hangover 2"

In 2003, S. Victor Whitmill, tattoo artist, inked an original and distinctive tribal design on Mike Tyson's face. He is now suing Warner Bros. for infringing his copyright by using a "virtually exact reproduction" of Tyson's tattoo. According to the complaint, Tyson agreed to release "all artwork, sketches and drawings related to [his] tattoo and any photographs of [his] tattoo [as] property of Paradox-Studio of Dermagraphics Mr. Whitmill's DBA.]" By using the work in "the Hangover 2" on Ed Helms' face, Whitmill alleges that Warner Bros. is infringing his rights to adaptation, distribution, reproduction, and display of the work which has already appeared in promotions for the movie which will be officially released in the U.S. on May 26th, 2011. Whitmill requests a preliminary injunction which would enjoin the work's use. He also requests compensatory damages, profits, and costs. The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the case is assigned to Judge Catherine D. Perry. Copyright infringement of a tattoo is a novel issue as it has not been heavily litigated. John Tehranian of One LLP anticipated the issue of tattoo infringement in his recently published book "Infringement Nation: Copyright 2.0 and You." [Photo under Creative Common's license by shelbysdrummond http://www.flickr.com/photos/shelbyskye/5526435215/in/photostream]

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