An uncommon lawsuit between tattoo artist Catherine Alexander and Take-Two Interactive has concluded with a victory for Alexander, who argued efficiently that WWE 2K16, WWE 2K17 and WWE 2K18 reproduced her work with out her permission.

The roots of the case go approach again to 2009, when Alexander tried to barter a licensing take care of game writer Take-Two Interactive for the tattoos she’d inked on professional wrestler Randy Orton between 2002 and 2008. Take-Two rejected the proposal, however provided her $450 for the appropriate to make use of the photographs; she refused, however Take-Two went forward and used them anyway.

Alexander pursued the matter in courtroom, successful a small victory in 2020 when a choose rejected a request for a abstract judgment in Take-Two’s favor and as an alternative dominated that the writer and WWE did in truth copy her work, and that she might have suffered damages because of this. The choose within the case declared that “authenticity” is a significant promoting level for the WWE video games, and that “WWE would have rejected Orton’s videogame persona if it appeared with out his tattoos or appeared with tattoos that have been completely different than Orton’s precise tattoos.”

In a ruling issued on September 30 (through VGC), the US District Courtroom for the Southern District of Illinois got here down firmly in Alexander’s favor, though for a comparatively small quantity. The looks of the tattoos within the game don’t qualify as honest use, based on the ruling, which awarded $3,750 to Alexander. The quantity wasn’t larger as a result of the courtroom discovered that not one of the income earned by gross sales of the game could possibly be attributed to the presence of the tattoos. 

Nonetheless, whereas the award is comparatively paltry, it may compel different game publishers to take licensing negotiations with different tattoo artists extra critically sooner or later. (And, likewise, may persuade tattoo artists to extra aggressively pursue such offers, too.)

WWE 2K20

(Picture credit score: Take-Two Interactive)

This is not the primary time that Take-Two has been sued over tattoos in its videogames. In 2016 it was sued by Stable Oak Sketches over work that appeared on Lebron James, Kenyon Martin, and Eric Bledsoe within the NBA 2K video games. However in that case, as famous by The Hollywood Reporter, it received, as a result of the gamers had granted a license to make use of their likeness to the NBA, which in flip licensed them to Take-Two.