Tattoos on NBA players are as common as the Nike sneakers on their feet. So with today’s scanning technology, its no surprise players body ink makes into the game. 2K’s constant desire to give its players the most realistic basketball video game experience possible every year with NBA 2K has landed them in some legal hot water.
Solid Oak Sketches back in 2015 bought the rights to individual players tattoos such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Back in 2016, the company decided to take the game’s publisher, Take-Two Interactive, to court arguing that the company infringed on the copyright of eight tattoo designs that are on the bodies of James and Bryant.
The tattoo saga continues this month as Solid Oak is asking a federal judge to deny a motion for summary judgment by Take-Two.
Per Page Six:
“Solid Oak Sketches argued in court documents this month that while some players, such as LeBron James, “may have granted his rights of publicity” to game maker Take-Two Interactive “through the [NBA] . . . that is a consideration completely separate and apart from whether the defendants ever received a license to use the copyrights to the tattoo artwork that was fixed on Mr. James’ body by tattoo artists.”
Take-Two has counter-argued that the inked images fall under fair use guidelines and the tattoos use in the game are no big deal because they are “rendered virtually unrecognizable on-screen.” The publisher also feels making tattoos copyrightable will make things very touchy beyond video games opening Pandora’s Box and paving the way for lawsuits such as the one they are battling.
This scenario does seem kinda ridiculous being that the ink is on the bodies of the players already and they should have a say so not Solid Oak.
Do you feel the Solid Oak Sketches has a case? Or do you think they are doing entirely too much with this lawsuit?
We are interested to see how this one plays out in court.
Photo: El Nuevo Herald / Getty