ST. LOUIS (CN) – The tattoo artist who did Mike Tyson’s face claims Warner Bros. “pirated” his work to advertise its movie, “The Hangover 2.” S. Victor Whitmill wants a federal judge to bar Warner Bros. from using the tattoo in its promotions, and damages for copyright infringement.
Whitmill says he created and applied the tattoo to the upper left side of Tyson’s face on Feb. 10, 2003.
Whitmill says the boxer signed a release stating that Whitmill was the owner of the tattoo’s design, and says he registered a copyright of the design.
Whitmill claims Warner Bros. used an exact replica of his work, without permission, to promote “The Hangover 2” this spring.
“On information and belief, the movie features a virtually exact reproduction of the
original tattoo, which appears on the upper left side of the Stu Price character’s face, played by actor Ed Helms,” the complaint states.
The complaint contains side-by-side pictures of the tattoo’s reproduction and a picture of Tyson’s face.
“Mr. Whitmill has never been asked for permission for, and has never consented to, the use, reproduction, or creation of a derivative work based on his original tattoo, including the pirated tattoo,” the complaint states. “Nor has he ever been asked or agreed to the public display and distribution of a motion picture containing the pirated tattoo, or to the use of any of his other exclusive rights in the original tattoo under the Copyright Act.
“Warner Bros. has already infringed Mr. Whitmill’s copyright through its unauthorized
copying, distribution and public display of the pirated tattoo in advertising and promotion for the movie and by making an unauthorized derivative work – namely, the pirated tattoo – that is based upon and copies virtually all of the copyrightable subject matter of the original tattoo.”
Whitmill also seeks costs and damages for unjust enrichment.
He is represented by Geoffrey Gerber with The BrickHouse Law Group.