S. Victor Whitmill, the guy behind Mike Tyson’s face tattoo has filed a federal lawsuit against the creators of The Hangover 2.
In the sequel to The Hangover Ed Helms’ character is given a similar facial tattoo (shown above) that is now synonymous with Mike Tyson and according to Whitmill during the time of inking Tyson’s face the former boxer gave him all rights to the face tat.
According to court papers:
“When Mr. Whitmill created the Original Tattoo, Mr. Tyson agreed that Mr. Whitmill would own the artwork and thus, the copyright in the Original Tattoo.”
The court record goes on to stay:
“Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. – without attempting to contact Mr. Whitmill, obtain his permission, or credit his creation – has copied Mr. Whitmill’s Original Tattoo and placed it on the face of another actor … This unauthorized exploitation of the Original Tattoo constitutes copyright infringement.”
While Whitmill may argue that the tattoo is a direct reference to Tyson’s role in the first movie, Warner Bros. will more than likely call the tattoo a piece of parody which in turn would invalidate copyright claims. Warner Bros. will also more than likely claim that they changed the tattoo enough to void any copyright claims.
Whitmill wants the movies release halted but that is highly unlikely to happen which means ‘The Hangover Part II’ will reach theaters May 26.
Now I just want to know why Mike Tyson would give up the copyright to something that would remain on his face forever.