Randy Orton tattoo artist sues Take-Two for using his designs in WWE games

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Take-Two and World Wrestling Entertainment head to trial after judge rules WWE 2K games copied the work of an artist responsible for some tattoos by professional wrestler Randy Orton.

Orton’s arms are inked fully from shoulder to hand, an intrinsic part of the appearance on stage of the quadruple World Heavyweight Championship belt holder. According to Hollywood journalist, these designs include tribal tattoos, skulls, bible verse, dove and rose, all of which are the work of artist Catherine Alexander. She is now suing Take-Two and WWE for reproducing her work in video games without his permission.

“[A]There is a material factual question as to whether Alexander suffered actual damage based on the value of the unlawful use, ”Illinois Federal Judge Staci Yandle wrote in a court order over the weekend. What this means is that the trial will now go to trial for a jury to decide whether the appearance of the tattoos in WWE 2K16, 17, and 18 amount to copyright infringement and, if so, how much money the video game publisher will owe Alexander as a result.

While Orton has licensed his WWE likeness which in turn cleared him to Take-Two, the issue is whether Alexander retains any rights to the tattoos once they start to be. reproduced outside Orton’s body. One example is a fake sleeve with Orton’s tattoos on it. WWE was apparently considering a sale in 2009. According to her testimony, Alexander approached the organization about this at the time and someone in his legal department allegedly laughed in his face before finally offering him $ 450, which she said. refused at the time, stating that she had not authorized WWE to reproduce her designs.

Take-Two was the subject of a similar lawsuit in 2016 over LeBron James’ tattoos in the NBA 2K Games. He won this case earlier this year with a judge ruling that the tattoos in the game were too hard to distinguish to be considered obvious copies of the originals, and also that the tattoos were part of the likeness of James and the other players, giving them the right to authorize it with their image in the NBA and Take-Two.

That seemed to settle the issue, but the fact that a similar dispute now heads to a jury trial could lead to a different outcome in the WWE 2K Case. Or Take-Two could simply use a small portion of the profits from its microtransaction-riddled games to settle out of court.


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