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Tattoo Artist Sues Take-Two Over In-Game Depiction of Randy Orton’s Tatoos

Randy Orton wwe2k

Tattoo artist Catherine Alexander, the woman responsible for WWE wrestler Randy Orton’s arm tattoos is taking Take-Two Interactive Software to court over the alleged reproduction of her work in their WWE 2K series.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that an Illinois federal judge has issued a partial statement that Take-Two Interactive Software has in fact reproduced Catherine Alexander’s work in their games. This statement opens the alleged copyright infringement up to a trial by jury. This trial will be the first of its kind where a tattoo artist’s work has been considered infringed by its appearance in a video game.

Take-Two experienced a similar situation where Solid Oak Sketches claimed the right to the tattoos on LeBron James. However in that case the New York federal judge decided that the depiction of the tattoos weren’t substantially similar; or if they were a tattoo would be de minimis (that is, too trivial or minor to consider).

Catherine Alexander’s case is taking a different path, especially compared to her 2009 attempt to negotiate a deal over tattoo sleeves sold by World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Allegedly she attempted to negotiate a deal with one of the company’s lawyers and was “laughed at” and offered $450.

If the case Alexander brings against Take-Two Interactive Software goes to trial, it could possibly set the precedent for how tattoos are handled in video games going forward. This is especially relevant as graphics and details in video games get ever better and better. While the New York judge was able to dismiss the reproduction of LeBron James tattoos as small and insignificant; video games are now toying with Ultra HD 4K and possibly 8K resolutions which offer unanticipated levels of detail.

Details about the case against Take-Two Interactive Software are forthcoming, and we’ll keep up to date here on Niche Gamer as things progress.

Image: The Smackdown Hotel

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Brandon Lyttle

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A basement-dwelling ogre, Brandon's a fan of indie games and slice of life anime. Has too many games and not enough time.