The Washington Post

Mike Tyson tattoo artist sues Warner Bros.: Will this affect ‘The Hangover Part II’ release?

Mike Tyson, a cast member in "The Hangover Part II," poses alongside a poster for the film at the premiere. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Update: U.S. District Court Judge Catherine D. Perry is expected to issue a ruling Tuesday morning that will determine if “The Hangover Part II” will open this week as planned, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Original Post

The man behind Mike Tyson’s very distinctive face tattoo has sued Warner Brothers Entertainment for copyright infringement over the use of a similar piece of body art in “The Hangover Part II,” the Hollywood Reporter reports.

As a trailer for the upcoming film shows, Stu (Ed Helms) wakes up in Bangkok and is horrified to find a tattoo very similar to the boxer’s on his face. Artist S. Victor Whitmill claims in his lawsuit that he was never “asked for permission for, and has never consented to, the use, reproduction or creation of a derivative work based on his original tattoo,” the New York Times reported.

Warner Bros. responded to the lawsuit Friday, saying in a brief that “the very copyrightability of tattoos is a novel issue.”

“There is no legal precedent for Plaintiff's radical claim that he is entitled, under the Copyright Act, to control the use of a tattoo that he created on the face of another human being,” the brief continued.

There’s also the issue of money. Warner Bros. said an injunction blocking the film’s release would have dire financial consequences for the studio and the 3,600 theaters planning to show the movie.

Tyson played himself in the first “Hangover” film and will make an appearance in the sequel. Helms told Entertainment Weekly that Tyson had no idea about the use of his tattoo in the sequel, but he “was so cool about it” when he found out.

So will this whole inky kerfuffle affect Friday’s release date? Maybe. A hearing in federal court is scheduled for Monday. Check back later to finalize your Memorial Day movie plans.

(Source: Hollywood Reporter)


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