Mike Tyson Tattoo Artist Accuses The Hangover Part II of Copyright Infringement

hangovertattoo300.jpgForget disgruntled theater owners: the tattoo artist who inked Mike Tyson's face back in 2003 is suing Warner Bros. over The Hangover Part II, claiming copyright infringement of his famous work. The tribal face tattoo, which Ed Helms spoofs in the sequel in a clear nod to Tyson, not only shows up in the film, it's prominently featured in the film's marketing campaign -- and that could mean big trouble for Warner Bros.

Tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill filed Thursday in Missouri to stop Warner Bros. from releasing the highly anticipated comedy sequel based on the alleged violation. According to Whitmill, he owns the copyright to the tattoo and was never contacted for permission or credited for its use in the film. THR points out that the case could go in a number of directions, though at first glance it doesn't sound promising for the studio:

Warners could argue that 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. Whitmill also is challenging the use of the image in ad materials and trailers.

If Whitmill's claim is supported, expect WB to pony up to avoid injunction against releasing the film, which is riding buzz so high it's practically guaranteed to be one of the summer's bigger hits.


· Mike Tyson Tattoo Artist Sues Warner Bros. to Stop Release of 'Hangover 2' [THR]


  • adam martin says:

    It should be covered under parody.

  • The Winchester says:

    If it goes through, would the Celts have a valid base for suing everyone with a tattoo?

  • JimVincent says:

    Parody is protected under law. That dude's an idiot.

  • carg0 says:

    if this guy honestly thinks the courts are going to stop this movie from being released for something so ridiculously trivial, he's an idiot. (in fact, that's probably an understatement)

  • SunnydaZe says:

    Yeah, Hustler can produce "Ghostbusters 3-D" but Warner Bros. can't use something from one of their own movies! I am sure Iron Mike signed an agreement for use of his likeness for any sequels in case they needed a flashback scene. Well, guess what? The tattoo is a part of his likeness.

  • casting couch says: