Warner Bros. Sued Over Horrible Face Tattoo

April 29, 2011


In a landmark case that will surely set a new precedent for replicating disfiguring facial tattoos, tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill has filed suit against Warner Bros., claiming The Hangover, Part II's use of the tattoo he designed exclusively for Mike Tyson violates his copyright.

The design, recreated in the film on Ed Helms's face, was legally released to Whitmill at the time he forever ruined Tyson's head with it. Because copyright applies no matter the canvas, be it actual canvas or a shamed pugilist's flesh, Warner needed to get a release before using it, and the only way they're getting out of this is if they can convince a judge "the copyright isn't valid, or that the studio changed the design just enough to escape infringement, or that the use in the film is 'transformative,' meaning it is depicted in a larger context and thus a fair use, or that it's a parody." Barring such a ruling, Warner Bros. will likely end up paying a hefty settlement to stop an injunction from halting the film's release. Thankfully for the studio, they've still got the Looney Tunes catalog. They can easily pay that settlement off by counter-suing all the older sisters who have illicit Tweety hip tattoos.

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