The creator of WWE 2K was sued by tattoo artist Catherine Alexander for using her artwork without her consent in its games. The WWE 2K Tattoo lawsuit has finally concluded, and the jury has ruled in favor of Catherine Alexander.
WWE 2K Tattoo lawsuit ends up in favor of Tattoo artists
Originally filed in 2018, the complaint claimed that Alexander’s tattoo designs for Randy Orton were her unique creations, to which she had the legal copyright. She filed a lawsuit alleging copyright violations and claimed that she never granted WWE or any other game studios authorization to replicate them in video games.
Alexander claims that the tattoos were utilized in WWE 2K16, 2K17, and 2K18 without her consent. She obviously doesn’t include subsequent games because 2K18 was the most recent release at the time of her petition.
The decision-making process for character designs in WWE 2K games is outside the control of individual wrestlers, therefore Orton himself was not a party to the case. Nevertheless, he appeared. Overall, there were three main issues that the jury had to decide on: fair use, the possible financial loss, and if the tattoo designs generated any revenue for video games.
Since Orton was being accurately recreated, rather than to achieve Alexander’s original expressive intentions, 2K asserted that the tattoos’ usage was considered “fair use”. Evidently, none of 2K’s claims worked, and the jury ruled in favor of Alexander awarding her $3,750 in compensation. Furthermore, the court found that she wasn’t allowed to any further pay because none of the game’s revenues were directly attributable to the inclusion of her tattoos.
Will this affect 2K’s future games?
This might have a significant impact on upcoming games and characters, either via their elimination or simply through altering the actual model. It will be interesting to watch how things evolve and whether this really does any impact on WWE 2K23, which is now in progress.