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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

No Avatar
76.

MyOpinionOnly    

You ROCK Jafo Fubar! And from the bottom of my tattooed heart, thank you for all that you and your fellow Marines have done to protect our country for the right to have our individuality, freedom of speech and all other freedoms currently being threatened everyday. Without brave, courageous men and women such as yourself, we would be living in a world that would be comparable to what other nations are fighting for right now. Thank you sir and may you have a wonderful weekend! :)

1271 days ago
77.

Oh4fuxsake    

@ brianmd

Good point, dude.

1271 days ago
78.

McBunceMD    

that's mike tyson's fault for being involved in the movie anyways. it's mike tyson's tattoo considering it's ON mike tyson, he should be able to do movies without his face tattoo being an issue, this is just dumb.

1271 days ago
79.

paul    

You Jackwads that think it's stupid......... THEY Patented a frick'n SOY BEAN and you know what.....? Now everyone can't grow soybean seeds.... They have to buy them. That's stupid!

1271 days ago
80.

DLiver420    

It falls under fair use even if it is a copyrighted image. This is NOT going to court. The studio has a choice, either give him a small settlement and make him sign a non-disclosure to shut him up or tell him in no specific terms to "**** off".

1271 days ago
81.

mike    

Easy Parody case...

There is no case here.

1271 days ago
82.

G    

Money hungry bastard. Geeze...for real?

1271 days ago
83.

Rags    

Actually Parody and Fair Use do NOT apply here.

As for Fair Use he can't sue if Mike Tyson appears in a movie with that copyrighted tattoo on his face since it was understood that Tyson was gonna walk around in his day to day life with it on there. But that isn't the case here since the copyrighted tattoo is there sans-Tyson.

And for Parody sure you can make fun of lots of stuff but you CAN'T use copyrighted or trademarked designs and logos. i.e. Yo can make all the parodies and jokes and whatever about Star Trek and it's crew but you CAN'T use the Star Trek copyrighted or trademarked designs in said parody.

1271 days ago
84.

Robert    

Well if he has a patent on the design it's pretty cut and dry.

1271 days ago
85.

bonzo    

Yeah, this is clearly a parody of his silly tattoo, so it's protected and not subject to copyright law. They may still give him a tiny bit of money to go away. Remember 2 Live Crew and the Pretty Woman case?

1271 days ago
86.

Tracy    

This is ridiculous!!!!!! Wow this man is sue happy. this really is stupid

1271 days ago
87.

Sonya    

It's not Exactly the same. The top line near the hairline is shorter! So go suck one victor! Lol

1271 days ago
88.

James    

WHAT AN IDIOT!!!!! the tattoos are not exactly the same, they have quite a few difference XD
What a fail, he made the tattoo and can't see they changed it enough so a copyright can be avoided

The curves are more straight on the fake and the under eye tat it almost completely different in layout since it is more wide and straight in the round areas. The swirl is barely a there.

Sorry close but no cigar any idiot with eyes can see the difference

1271 days ago
89.

emerald    

Aren't tattoo's classified as art designs (don't even go there lol!), therefore if the tattooist designed the tattoo he can copyright it to ensure it isn't reproduced everywhere lol!! It's like having an oil painting (yeah, I know!), if it hangs in a museum or art gallery for all to view at free will, it doesn't mean it can be copied by any Tom, **** or Harry and sold thus undervaluing the original lol!! So if the tattoo is copyrighted Hangover is going to have to pay for the privilege of using it, especially since it's not on Mike Tyson where the artist put it, and Mike Tyson himself can't give approval for it's re-production lol!!
It may sound insane, but the guy has a legit complaint and if a tattoo design was not copyrightable then he wouldn't have been able to be copyrighted would he lol?! You can copyright some of the weirdest things, but since the tattoo design had to be hand drawn first it's art and looking at the photo it looks the same, it doesn't matter if it's 1 cm smaller in one section or another or the curve more pronounced, the design is the same lol!!

1271 days ago
90.

CrashAndBurn    

You can't block ugly dufus! Can you? lol.

1271 days ago
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