Randy Orton is set to appear in court as his tattoo artist brings legal action against WWE.
In April 2018 tattoo artist Catherine Alexander brought legal action against World Wrestling Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive Software, 2K Games, Inc., 2K Sports, Inc., Visual Concepts Entertainment, Yuke’s Co., Ltd. and Yuke’s LA.
Alexander alleges that she alone owns the copyrights to designs she tattooed onto Randy Orton across a number of years as they were her original designs. The suit claims that the defendants infringed upon these rights as she never gave permission for the designs to be recreated in WWE licenced video games.
In the lawsuit Alexander explains that the work was completed between 2003 and 2008, adding that it is “easily recognized by his fans and members of the public.” It is alleged that she contacted WWE in 2009 regarding the issue and was offered $450 for her rights to the designs. Alexander turned the offer down.
The suit states that:
“Mr. Orton does not have ownership in the copyrights asserted herein and has no authority to and did not grant permission for Defendants to commit the acts complained of in this Complaint.” Orton has not been named as a defendant in the lawsuit and has never commented publicly on the situation.”
PWInsider report that the jury will decide on:
“Whether Orton was automatically granted an implied license to have his tattoos recreated via WWE’s licensed products, if they would be considered copyright infringement if Orton did not have that license, whether the tattoos would fall under “fair use” (brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder), whether the tattoos are de minmis (too trivial or minor to merit consideration legally) and whether there would be damages due to Alexander.”
The hearing will take place on September 26th at the U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois.