NBA 2K16 Publisher Sued Over Player Tattoos

By | 9 months ago 

Tattoo studio Solid Oak Sketches sues NBA 2K16 publisher, Take-Two Interactive over unauthorized reproduction of tattoo designs within their popular basketball games.

In a New York court filing this past Monday, Solid Oak Sketches is suing Take-Two Interactive for the unauthorized reproduction of tattoo designs in the popular NBA 2K16. The tattoo studio has placed the value of these tattoos at $819,500 though they are seeking a total sum of $1,144,000 in order to permit perpetual license to use the designs within the game and on the cover. At this time, Take-Two has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

As initially reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Solid Oak Sketches has filed a complaint for copyright infringement with the New York federal court system. Solid Oak owns the copyright for a number of tattoos on eight players represented in the game including Kobe Bryant, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, and LeBron James. Solid Oak also believes that since James is the face of the 2014 edition of the uncursed sports franchise, his tattoos are technically worth four times as much as that others thanks to marketing and promotional materials.

“Given that those two tattoos are ‘the face’ of the 2014 game, their marketing and promotion value is, conservatively, at least four times the value of the rest of the tattoos.”

The full complaint can be read in its entirety below.

Tattoo Copyright NBA2K

Specific designs from various artists Shawn Rome, Justin Wright and Tommy Ray Cornett include a portrait of a child on James’ left forearm and a crown of butterflies on Kobe’s right bicep. These tattoo artists maintain that they had signed a copyright agreement with the players, which would certainly add a wrinkle into this court case.

On one hand, the complaint stems from original tattoo designs created by the tattoo artists which Solid Oak firmly believes should “easily satisfy” a standard for originality. On the other hand, one could argue that once applied to a person’s skin, the tattoo could be considered part of a person’s physical appearance. At that point, once a person’s appearance is licensed for a game, the tattoos would then be included. However, the added wrinkle to this issue comes in from the potential signed agreements the players have reportedly made with the tattoo artists prior.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in the gaming industry. Back in 2012, THQ was sued by tattoo artist Chris Escobedo, over some of his ink appearing on Carlos Condit in UFC Undisputed 3. The case went to court with Escobedo asking for $4.1 million from the publisher, though he eventually only received $22,500 from the judge.

How do you feel about this issue? Should tattoos be considered part of a person’s appearance or does Solid Oak have a legitimate case here? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.

Source: Hollywood Reporter