Who would have thought that shizz scrawled across Mike Tyson’s face would be worth a fortune?
It seems that the sequel to The Hangover features a gag about Ed Helms’ character getting a tattoo like Mike Tyson’s. One thing the Warner Bros. legal team probably didn’t anticipate: A copyright lawsuit from the “visual artist” who drew the original tattoo.
S. Victor Whitmill is a tattoo artist in Missouri, and he’s the man behind the distinctive pattern occupying the left side of Tyson’s face. The producers of The Hangover 2 thought it would be funny, apparently, if Helms’ character woke up in Bangkok with the same tattoo. But Whitmill claims to own the design, and is suing Warner Bros. to prevent them from using the design in the film—which comes out next month—and unspecified monetary damages.
It sounds odd. But Whitmill actually did copyright the design in 2003, the same year he applied the tattoo to Tyson—he called it “Tribal Tattoo” and claimed it as “artwork on a 3D subject.” And he says Tyson signed a release acknowledging that Whitmill was the “sole creator, author, and owner of all rights, including copyright, in the Original Tattoo, which is original and fixed in a tangible medium of expression.”
Sounds like the producers were not up on their research p’s and q’s and it’s gonna cost them BIG TIME! Celebrity tattoo artists are no dummies and this guy knew what he was doing when Mike Tyson let him write all over his face!