The tattoo artist who created the tattoos on professional wrestler Randy Orton has won a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive for using her work as inspiration for the WWE 2K video games. According to Reuters, tattoo artist Catherine Alexander was awarded $3,750 in damages after her designs were used in WWE 2K16, 2K17, and 2K18 without her consent.
Despite WWE and Take-Two’s the jury’s decision in Alexander’s favor, the judgement established a significant precedent for the protection of tattoo artists’ copyrights. WWE and Take-Two had argued that the artwork was duplicated in fair use.
The decision establishes an intriguing precedent for developers of sports simulations, who frequently recreate sportsmen with tattoos. While the athletes themselves may provide their permission to be represented in-game, it may now be considered that tattooed artwork on their body needs additional approvals.
The recent hack of WWE 2K’s publisher 2K, which resulted in the sending of phony emails with malware from an actual account, has not been the only source of controversy surrounding WWE 2K. WWE 2K20, which was published with numerous technical faults and caused 2K to discontinue the previously annualized series for a year, was another factor that has negatively impacted the franchise’s reputation in recent years.