A tattoo artist suing a gaming company is not a first but it isn't common. The most recent attempt by a creative artist to claim copyright of their work is going on right now as Randy Orton's tattoo artist is suing WWE and 2K Games for using her designs without consent.
The parties behind WWE's new game WWE 2K18 has made Orton's character so realistic that they've accurately depicted his tattoos in great detail. So much so, the artist behind the work, Catherine Alexander wants restitution.
Alexander is a tattoo artist from Illinois and has been working on Orton's tattoos dating all the way back to 2003. She claims her work is unique, one of a kind and original works making it her property and not for reproduction or reuse without her permission. A similar suit was brought forward in 2017 when LeBron James' artist sued 2K last year.
Alexander claims this is not the first time she approach WWE and 2K about the issue and in 2009 was offered $450 to use her work in the game. She says she declined the offer at that time and was never contacted again. It was not clear as to why she never carried the issue further at that time or how much money she is seeking in this latest suit.
The tattoos Alexander has the most issue with are the tribal tattoo on his upper back and the full sleeves which include skulls a dove, a rose and a Bible verse. It seems unlikely she would be able to claim copyright over words in the Bible but if her images are completely unique or a court finds that the creative nature in which she laid out the works, she could have a case. It could depend on whether or not a person's body, much like the canvas of a painting can be used for copyright and whether or not the subject themselves has any claim to that copyright.
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