Mike Tyson's Face Leads to Lawsuit Against Warner Bros. for Hangover 2 Promotions

The guy who put the ridiculous tribal tattoo on the face of former Valley resident/former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has filed a lawsuit against the movie studio responsible for the upcoming film The Hangover 2.

St. Louis tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill has asked a federal court judge to bar Warner Bros. from using the tattoo he crafted onto Iron Mike's face in 2003 in its promotion of the upcoming movie.

As you can see in the photo to the right, the studio has put Tyson's tattoo on the face of Ed Helms, one of the stars of the new film. A monkey, apparently,  also is involved in the trio's latest adventure.

From the complaint, originally obtained by Courthouse News:

"Mr. Whitmill has never been asked for permission for, and has never consented to, the use, reproduction, or creation of a derivative work based on his original tattoo, including the pirated tattoo. Nor has he ever been asked or agreed to the public display and distribution of a motion picture containing the pirated tattoo, or to the use of any of his other exclusive rights in the original tattoo under the Copyright Act.

"Warner Bros. has already infringed Mr. Whitmill's copyright through its unauthorized copying, distribution and public display of the pirated tattoo in advertising and promotion for the movie and by making an unauthorized derivative work - namely, the pirated tattoo - that is based upon and copies virtually all of the copyrightable subject matter of the original tattoo."

The tattoo artist claims Tyson signed a release saying Whitmill was the owner of the tattoo's design. He claims he got the design copyrighted, as well.

Whitmill is seeking costs and damages for "unjust enrichment." 

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James King
Contact: James King