WWE 2K: copyright issues on Randy Orton's tattoos

Catherine Alexander, the artist behind the wrestler's iconic tattoos Randy Orton, will go to court with Take-Two Interactive for a matter related to the copyright on the use of his works in the video games of series WWE 2K. Apparently, in fact, these tattoos were used in the aforementioned titles without his consent. The September 26th, an Illinois federal judge issued his partial summary judgment stating that there was indeed one violation copyright.

WWE and Take-Two Interactive Software, the publisher of the WWE 2K video game series, have actually copied Catherine Alexander's work.

Apparently this would be the first unauthorized reproduction of tattoos linked to copyright. The wrestler of the WWE Randy Orton, in a recent speech, said:

I understood that the tattoos were his personal expression and was never told that he would need further permissions to make them visible elsewhere.

Staci Yandle, the United States District Court judge, said:

It is unclear whether Alexander and Orton argued about the possible distribution of his works or whether any implied license included sublicensing rights so that Orton could give permission for others to copy Alexander's tattoo works. She claims that she created the tattoos for the purpose of showing them on Orton's body and that the defendants used the tattoos for the same purpose; to show them on Orton's body in video games.

Take-Two has been involved in a similar lawsuit against them in the past in 2016 for the use of real player tattoos featured in the series titles NBA 2K. The author of the claim was a tattoo studio, Solid Oak Sketches, who claimed that the publisher and developer had knowingly used eight copyrighted designs in their games.

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