Los Angeles – “The Hangover, Part 2”, Warner Bros.’ sequel to the 2009 blockbuster hit, may soon be sobering up over a copyright infringement lawsuit. S. Victor Whitmill, the tattoo artist who inked the infamous tribal tattoo on Mike Tyson’s mug, is suing to halt the release of the movie which is scheduled for release this Friday.
In the complaint, Whitmill accuses Warner Bros. of using his copyrighted tattoo design without his permission. Apparently, the character portrayed by Ed Helms has the same facial tattoo as a playful reference to Mike Tyson, who appeared in the original “Hangover.” Not only does the tattoo appear in scenes in the movie, but it was also used in the marketing for the picture.
Generally a tattoo artist would own the rights to all tattoo designs with the person receiving the tattoo having an implied license to use the design. In this case, it does not appear that Warner Bros. received any permission to display the design and unlike the original movie no implied rights exist. With the overwhelming popularity of the first movie and all the buzz behind the much-anticipated sequel, it is likely that Warner Bros. will attempt to quickly purchase a license to use the design.
Because Whitmill would have to post a large bond to receive an injunction, we don’t expect any delay in the release of the movie. Warner Bros. has thus far declined to comment on the suit.