Connect with us

Take-Two Wins Copyright Infringement Suit on Tattoo Designs vs. Solid Oak Sketches

nba-2k20-tattoos

NBA 2K20

Take-Two Wins Copyright Infringement Suit on Tattoo Designs vs. Solid Oak Sketches

Way back in 2016, Take-Two Interactive was sued by Solid Oak Sketches, claiming the tattoos in the NBA 2K series, were their copyrighted work. Some of the tattoos seen on LeBron James, the late Kobe Bryant, Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe were the main focus.

Worried that they might be party to a lawsuit, the NFL Players Association told players in 2014 that, in order for their tattoos to be represented on merchandise, including video games, they needed to get waivers from the artists.

This is one of the main reasons other companies don’t put tattoos in their game. Getting permission from the tattoo artist can take quite a bit of time. The Madden team had to go through that process to get the tattoos for Colin Kaepernick (Madden NFL 15) and Odell Beckham, Jr. (Madden NFL 16) in the game, among others.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Take-Two has beaten the copyright suit, stating they had an implied license to use the tattoos through its agreements with the NBA, which itself had a deal with the players.

The judge adds, “When the Tattoos do appear during gameplay (because one of the Players has been selected), the Tattoos cannot be identified or observed. The Tattoos are significantly reduced in size: they are a mere 4.4% to 10.96% of the size that they appear in real life. … Further, the Players’ quick and erratic movements up and down the basketball court make it difficult to discern even the undefined dark shading.”

Read More: ‘NBA 2K’ Publisher Beats Copyright Suit Over LeBron James’ Tattoos (The Hollywood Reporter)

16 Comments

Leave a Reply

Discussion
  1. The judgement makes sense. To me, the tattoos are just part of the players' overall likeness. Now...if you were able to purchase the tattoos with VC, then that would be a whole different type of argument.
    Hounddog146
    Wow that’s so stupid, people try to sue for anything. That’s like the camera man that tried to sue Lebron for posting one of his pics that he took of Lebron on Instagram lol
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Well that situation is different right? Lol
    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    ksuttonjr76
    The judgement makes sense. To me, the tattoos are just part of the players' overall likeness. Now...if you were able to purchase the tattoos with VC, then that would be a whole different type of argument.

    don't be giving out ideas like this. keep it basketball. j/k
    needed that laugh
    ksuttonjr76
    The judgement makes sense. To me, the tattoos are just part of the players' overall likeness. Now...if you were able to purchase the tattoos with VC, then that would be a whole different type of argument.

    This is how I see it, too. I'm happy for the ruling, not just for 2K but for sports games in general. The power of these new next gen consoles will get us closer and closer to photorealism, it would be off to have such an integral part of a some players "likeness" removed.
    This is honestly surprising to me and is going to set a weird future precedent in regards to art and tattoos in games. 
    If I was a player I'd still get the rights to all my tats in the future just so these tat artists can't claim them at some point. 
    I would think that the tattoo artist would have to have legal documentation signed by the players upon getting the tattoo's that implicitly state that any player likeness used for monetary gain would require approval from the artist to appear in a game. I wouldn't think that royalty payments should be made in this case. I hope that 2K will reinstate tattoos in their next game for created players.
    drugsbunny
    I would think that the tattoo artist would have to have legal documentation signed by the players upon getting the tattoo's that implicitly state that any player likeness used for monetary gain would require approval from the artist to appear in a game. I wouldn't think that royalty payments should be made in this case. I hope that 2K will reinstate tattoos in their next game for created players.

    Why? It was kinda covered in the judge's decision. These tattoo artists are not stupid. They know they're tattooing highly visible celebrities and/or athletes. Also, the tattoo is not even recognizable when the game is in motion and how many people you know replays the gameplay action to admire the tattoos? 2KSports could use "generic" tattoos, and the only people that would notice would be the diehard people who are all about the gameplay art.
    Anyway, was a ridiculous lawsuit to begin with. The player paid you for the tattoo. You have no more rights to it after that transaction. Since the player is already licensed then of course their tattoo is covered in the license as well. 

More in NBA 2K20

To Top