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Mike Tyson's Face Tattoo Artist

Sues 'Hangover'

4/29/2011 10:48 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

If you've seen the previews for "Hangover 2" -- you already know Ed Helms wakes up with a Mike Tyson face tattoo ... but now, the guy who did Tyson's ink is PISSED at producers, claiming they ripped off his work without permission.

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The guy who applied Tyson's face tattoo back in 2003 is S. Victor Whitmill -- who claims he not only created the design, but copyrighted it as well. 

In fact, Whitmill says he's never allowed ANYONE to use the image since he put it on Tyson.

Now, Whitmill has filed a lawsuit in federal court in St. Louis, claiming Warner Bros. -- the studio behind the movie -- violated his copyright ... and he wants to block the studio from showing the tattoo in the film.

Whitmill is also demanding an unspecified amount of cash. 

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Warner Bros. declined comment.



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140 COMMENTS

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61.

Johnny Carcinoma    

Parody, fair use statutes apply.

This tattooist has no shot at prevailing under any cir***stances.

1273 days ago
62.

Pearl0808    

give me a freakin' break. it's a tattoo you a-hole, get over yourself. and it's an ugly tattoo at that, so take your stupid a** lawsuit and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.

1273 days ago
63.

smashley    

imagination and creativity

------------------------------------------------

ahahahaha good one Tammy

1273 days ago
64.

If sense were common everyone would have it.    

Classy eh? Doesn't anyone ever just get "Mom" anymore?

1273 days ago
65.

Benjamin    

Awful suit (if it is a federal copyright suit.) This does not get settled and gets dismissed on summary judgment.

Copyright §201 "In the case of a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author for purposes of this title, and unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a written instrument, signed by them, owns all the rights comprised in the copyright."

Even if there was such a "written instrument" it is implausible that a court would enforce it (since you can not completely alienate the right to your own likeness to a third party.)

1273 days ago
66.

sick of it    

hey moron
why do you people without tattoos feel the need to put people with tattoos down when people with tattoos have no problem with people who do not have tattoos..
think about it
Like I said you are SICK PEOPLE.You think if you can ....

1273 days ago
67.

sick of it    

srsly 44 minutes ago actually, Shuan, people with tattoos tend not to be very judgmental of others.
Because they are so stuck on the looks of their bodies..They adore their bodies so much they can't think of others.They look so STUPID

1273 days ago
68.

Ronald RayGun    

Does this mean TMZ can get sued as well since they showed Ed Helms' face tattoo on their web site?

1273 days ago
69.

whakama    

This tattoo artist has tremendous b@lls. This is a take on a Maori (indigenous NZ) design. As such, it is NOT now, nor was it ever his intellectual/creative property--nor should he have a copyright for it. He just steels like people always do from indigenous people - nothing new. While it's even worse to me that Warners is now using it, I think it fair to say thatthere is now a certain amount of bad feeling (karma, call it what you will) associated witht his design. Look it up--lots of people don't support Tyson having this tattoo.

1273 days ago
70.

CessnaDriver    

Parody is protected free speech.

They may have to pay for the fair use, but not much more.

It could easily be argued that a normal person wouldn't consider a tattoo to be subject to copyright.

1273 days ago
71.

TeeDee    

Copyright has been in the US Constitution since the country began. It's the law that creators have the right to decide who copies their artwork. The tattoo artist could have sold his copyright to Tyson, so it could by Mike Tyson suing WB for devaluing his unique tattoo.

WB can argue fair use - they all do - but if the artwork is original, the guy who made it owns it. He can license it, sell it, or refuse to use it.

1273 days ago
72.

Jafo Fubar    

To the name callers hating on tats. I'm an ex-Marine (that covers being tough) and I'm a nationally certified surgical tech. Where am I a loser? Walk in a man's shoes before you judge him.

1273 days ago
73.

the Seeker    

i heard Mike lohan sr. has some queer ass jailhouse tatts on his vajina

1273 days ago
74.

MyOpinionOnly    

tonyclifton - Maybe you should go back and read it again. He had it copyrighted AFTER he put it on Mike's face and has no problem with Mike having it obviously. Its the fact that they used the SAME TATTOO on the other actor without his permission that he is fighting over. Really, it doesn't take much effort to read it through to understand. And what's up with calling him a "meth head"??? Just because he's a tattoo artist??? Damn, that's pretty f'ed up and judgemental! I can understand people not liking tatoos, but to judge people and demean them for it, is not only wrong but its racist and ridiculous! I have a tattoo as well, work a ful time job, wife, mother and respectable person overall, so would youc all me a "loser", "methhead", "idiot" etc just by meeting me on the street? All you people knocking on tattoos and the people who get them will get your own judgement in the end and it won't be from here but in HELL. Pathetic!!!!

1273 days ago
75.

exbff    

Poor Gloria alred. Girl is really going to have to up her game to retain her "dumbass lawsuit of the week" crown.

1273 days ago
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