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Take-Two wins NBA 2K tattoo lawsuit

Tatt's all, folks.

Lebron James in NBA 2K20
Image credit: 2K / Take-Two

Take-Two has successfully defended itself against a lawsuit in which a tattoo artist claimed the publisher had used their copyright without permission when recreating the likeness of Lebron James' tattoo in NBA 2K.

Yesterday, Friday 19th April, a jury in Ohio returned the verdict that Take-Two had not infringed on tattoo artist Jimmy Hayden's copyright after Take-Two's lawyers convinced the jury that – as it had secured permission to use James' likeness – that included the basketball star's tattoos, too.

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As reported by Reuters (thanks, VGC), Take-Two's attorney Dale Cendali claimed the case was a victory for "anyone who has ever gotten a tattoo and might have otherwise worried about their freedom to share their bodies with their tattoos".

Back in February 2016, tattoo company Solid Oak Sketches launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Take-Two when it claimed NBA players' tattoos were copyrighted material. Therefore, Solid Oak argued, publishers such as Take-Two should gain permission and potentially pay for the use of the tattoos in its games.

Solid Oak previously acquired the rights to the tattoo designs of NBA legends such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Eric Bledsoe - something Take-Two's lawyers have suggested was a deliberate move to then squeeze money out of them. Take-Two similarly won that case, too.

Back in 2012, an artist sued THQ for including an "exact replica" of a lion he tattooed on a UFC fighter. The lion tattoo appears on the midriff of UFC's Carlos Condit in UFC Undisputed 3. The artist had copyright protection for the artwork and claimed THQ had not asked for permission to use it. That case was settled out of court.

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