Solid Oaks Sketches filed a copyright infringement suit against Take-2 Software, who made an NBA 2k video game which featured a reproduction of several tattoos worn by famous basketball players. Solid Oaks Sketches claimed this was copyright infringement.
Take-2 Software claims this is fair use. Plaintiff argues that, if this is not fair use, basketball players should seek permission each time they are in public, in films or when being photographed. Although the tattoos were featured on basketball players in the game, it was claimed that they appear very little and hard to distinguish.
Plaintiff put a lot of emphasis on the tattoos as a way to distinguish the individual players, as a pose to make money or for commercial use. The tattoos help to bring the characters in the game to life.
The court ruled in Take-2Âs favour because their use of the tattoo designs was different to Solid Oaks SketchesÂ original purpose with them. Because of this, the tattoos were not reproduced in order to make money in the tattoo market but on a gaming platform.
This case brings to the limelight to what extent one should use a copyright license for tattoo designs.Â