Catherine Alexander filed the lawsuit in 2018, claiming that her tattoo designs had been used with out her permission in WWE 2K16, WWE 2K17 and WWE 2K18.
The tattoos in query are authentic tribal-style designs Alexander utilized to WWE celebrity Randy Orton’s higher again and arms in actual life.
As such, Orton’s character mannequin within the WWE 2K video games additionally included the tattoos, on account of 2K’s makes an attempt to authentically recreate his look.
In her authentic go well with, Alexander claimed that she had contacted WWE in 2009 concerning the sale of Randy Orton merchandise that includes her design, and was provided $450 for the rights, which she turned down.
2K argued that using the tattoos had been thought of honest use, as a result of they had been used for the needs of realistically recreating Orton, reasonably than Alexander’s authentic expressive functions.
A jury on the US District Court docket Southern District of Illinois rejected this argument, although, deciding that using Alexander’s tattoo designs within the sport didn’t represent honest use, and that she was entitled to damages.
The jury decided that Alexander was entitled to $3,750 in damages. It additionally decided that since not one of the sport’s earnings got here as a direct results of her tattoos being included, she wasn’t entitled to any additional compensation.
Though the ultimate quantity could also be thought of comparatively small, it does set a possible precedent for different tattoo artists to make comparable claims if their designs are replicated on athletes in video video games.
In 2020, Take-Two received an identical lawsuit through which tattoo firm Strong Oak Sketches argued that it owned the copyrights to tattoo designs on NBA stars LeBron James, Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe, which had been recreated within the NBA 2K video games with out permission.
In that occasion, the lawsuit was unsuccessful, with the choose discovering that Take-Two had an implied licence to make use of the tattoos as a result of its NBA deal included gamers’ likeness rights.