Tattoo Artist Wins Lawsuit Against 2k for Using Copied Tattoo Designs on WWE 2k Wrestler

In a recent court case, a tattoo artist successfully sued 2K Sports and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, for using her artwork in the WWE 2K video games.

The lawsuit was launched in 2018 by Catherine Alexander, who claimed that her tattoo designs had been stolen and utilized in WWE 2K16, WWE 2K17, and WWE 2K18.

Alexander tattooed tribal motifs of his own creation onto WWE superstar Randy Orton’s upper back and arms.

Due to 2K’s efforts to accurately portray Orton’s look, his character model in WWE 2K games also has tattoos.

Alexander stated in her 2009 lawsuit that she had approached WWE about selling Randy Orton products bearing her design and that WWE had given her $450 for the rights.

For 2K, the tattoos constituted fair use since they were utilized to accurately portray Orton in the game, rather than for Alexander’s intended expressive reasons.

However, a jury in the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois disagreed, finding that Alexander was entitled to damages because the use of her tattoo designs in the game did not satisfy fair use.

Tattoo Artist Wins Lawsuit Against 2k

Alexander was awarded $3,750 in damages by the jury. It also concluded that she was not entitled to any further remuneration because her tattoos had no impact on the game’s profitability.

The sum may seem little, but it could pave the way for other tattoo artists to sue video game developers if their work is used on virtual sportsmen.

When tattoo studio Solid Oak Sketches claimed in court that it possessed the copyrights on tattoos worn by NBA players LeBron James, Kenyon Martin, and Eric Bledsoe, Take-Two prevailed in a similar case in 2020.

Take-Two was found to have an implicit license to use the tattoos since the likeness rights of NBA players were part of their arrangement with the company.

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