Intellectual Property Law

Mike Tyson's Tattoo Artist Sues Warner Bros., Says Studio Pirated Copy on Actor's Face in New Movie


The artist who created an unusual tattoo on the left side of prizefighter Mike Tyson’s face has sued Warner Bros., contending that the studio pirated its work by putting the same tattoo on the face of an actor in its new movie The Hangover 2.

S. Victor Whitmill says in his federal lawsuit that Tyson signed a release giving him ownership of the 2003 design and that he registered it, according to Courthouse News Service. Meanwhile, the studio allegedly never sought his permission to use the exact same design on actor Ed Helms’ face.

The studio declined to comment on the litigation, which was filed yesterday in federal court in Missouri, says the Hollywood Reporter in an article reprinted in Reuters.

Whitmill seeks damages and a court order preventing the studio from continuing to use the design. Thus, it could potentially block not only promotion but the actual release of the movie, the article says.

His complaint includes side-by-side photos of the two faces in question, and the tattoos do appear to be identical, according to copies provided by Gawker.

Hat tip: Above the Law

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Dwarf Couple Who Posed for AP Photo Sues over Its Altered Use in Reality TV Spoof”

ABAJournal.com: “Unusual Tattoo Gets Gang Member Convicted of First-Degree Murder in Cold Case”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Missouri artist sues to block movie due to Tyson lookalike tattoo”

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