An artist that designed tattoos for wrestling legend Randy Orton has won a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive after it was discovered the organization recreated her artwork in WWE 2K video games without her permission. According to Reuters, the WWE and Take-Two must now pay tattoo artist Catherine Alexander $3,750 in damages after her designs were used without her permission in WWE 2K16, 2K17, and 2K18.
The WWE and Take-Two had claimed that the artwork was recreated in fair use. However, a jury voted in favor of Alexander. Still, the same jury refused to award Alexander with any profits from the games.
“We didn’t win a bunch of money, but that’s never what the case was about,” said Alexander’s attorney, Anthony Simon, who felt vindicated by the verdict.
As IGN puts it, this case sets an “interesting precedent” for sports simulation games, which have regularly put tattoos on in-game athletes. While athletes may have consented to be recreated in games, tattooed artwork on their bodies will now require extra permissions.
This isn’t the first time that tattoos have been the subject of a video game-related lawsuit. In 2020, Take-Two faced a similar lawsuit related to the tattoos featured on players that appeared in the NBA 2K video game franchise. However, that ruling was based on fair use.
The Profit‘s Take:
Can you imagine the nightmare of having to license the tattoos of every athlete in every video game ever? You would need an army of lawyers to get that done. There is some precedent set here though, which is important.
(All information was provided by IGN, Reuters, and Wikipedia)
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