WWE and video game creator owe artist for depicting wrestler’s tattoos, jury hears

  • A tattoo artist sued World Wrestling Entertainment and Take-Two for recreating Randy Orton’s tattoos
  • Jury Rejected Claim WWE Games Made Fair Use of Tattoos

(Reuters) – World Wrestling Entertainment Inc and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc are to pay tattoo artist Catherine Alexander $3,750 in damages for recreating tattoos she made for wrestler Randy Orton on the hit series. “WWE 2K” video games without his permission, an Illinois jury said Friday.

The jury rejected WWE and Take-Two’s defense that the game made fair use of the tattoos, but also refused to award Alexander any profits from the games that it claimed were attributable to his work, according to the verdict sheet.

Alexander’s attorney, Anthony Simon, of the Simon Law Firm, said he felt vindicated by the verdict and set an important precedent for the protection of tattoo artists’ copyrights.

“We didn’t make a lot of money, but that’s never what it was about,” Simon told Reuters.

WWE, Take-Two and the companies’ attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

alexander for follow-up East St. Louis, Illinois, companies in 2018 accusing them of infringing on his tattoo copyrights by using them on Orton’s avatar in WWE 2K16, 2K17 and 2K18 games without a license from him.

The companies argued that the game made fair use of the tattoos by using them to realistically portray Orton rather than for their original expressive purpose.

Take-Two attorneys Dale Cendali and Joshua Simmons of Kirkland & Ellis have pushed back against a similar lawsuit against the company in 2020 over tattoos on professional basketball players in the NBA 2K video game series, in a decision founded in section on fair dealing.

The case is Alexander v. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc, US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, No. 3:18-cv-00966.

For Alexander: Anthony Simon of Simon Law Firm

For Take-Two: Dale Cendali and Joshua Simmons of Kirkland & Ellis

For WWE: Curtis Krasik of K&L Gates

Read more:

Video game maker NBA 2K gets huge tattoo damages claim dismissed

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