Warner Bros. is under legal fire from the man who gave Mike Tyson his facial tattoo, over the use of a similar-looking tattoo on Ed Helms’ character in The Hangover: Part II.
S. Victor Whitmill, the tattoo artist who designed Tyson’s tattoo, is requesting an injunction to stop the release of the film.
“When Mr. Whitmill created the Original Tattoo, Mr Tyson agreed that Mr. Whitmill would own the artwork and thus, the copyright in the Original Tattoo,” states the complaint.
“Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. — without attempting to contact Mr. Whitmill, obtain his permission, or credit his creation — has copied Mr. Whitmill’s Original Tattoo and placed it on the face of another actor … This unauthorized exploitation of the Original Tattoo constitutes copyright infringement.”
Warner Bros. has not released a statement regarding the suit.
The similarity of designs and placement on the face, in addition to the obvious reference to Tyson, will make it difficult for the studio to argue that the resemblance is a coincidence.
Whitmill is also challenging the use of the image in ads and trailers. If Warner Bros. isn’t able to prove that the copyright is invalid or that their tattoo isn’t infrigment, the studio may have to pay out a heavy settlement to ensure that The Hangover: Part II makes it to theaters for its Memorial Day weekend release.