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Take-Two Interactive Sued by Tattoo Artists Over Portrayals in NBA 2K

nba 2k lebron james

If you’re ever thinking about getting a tattoo, you might want to consider the implications. The art on your body might not belong to you, as in the case with the latest lawsuit between creators and tattoo artists. Yes, this has happened before with EA and their Madden franchise, and yes, it’s happening again.

This time, it’s happening to Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts, the companies responsible for the dominant NBA 2K franchise. We liked NBA 2K16 so much that we awarded it with Game of the Year for 2015! Unfortunately, one company wasn’t too happy with the success of the game, thanks to eight of their tattoos making an appearance unlicensed. This has become a major issue in recent history, stretching back to 2011 when Mike Tyson’s tattoo artist sued Warner Brothers to stop the release of The Hangover Part 2.

That lawsuit was thanks to an appearance of the tattoo on a character other than Tyson who appeared in the first film, and unfortunately, brought the issue of tattoo ownership to the forefront. It’s a scary thought, especially for people that appear in media. After the issue with Madden, you’d think that publishers would know better than to make the same mistake, but here we are.

The lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts which was filed on Monday in New York comes from a company called Solid Oak Sketches. According to ESPN and Hollywood Reporter, Solid Oak Sketches is suing Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts on the basis that several of their tattoo designs have made their way into the NBA 2K franchise without being licensed, notably two tattoos on LeBron James that were featured on the cover of NBA 2K14. 

Of course, the lawsuit also claims that six other tattoos were used without license. Kobe Bryant, Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan, and Eric Bledsoe have all had ink done by Solid Oak Sketches which has appeared in the games. The company initially did the math based upon the case between Christopher Escobedo and THQ to determine that licensing of the designs in question would come out to a total of $819,500, offering a perpetual license to Take-Two Interactive for the price of $1,144,000.

It seems that they opted not to license the tattoos, because the case is now headed to court. In the end Take-Two will probably settle. Maybe they should have payed attention to the EA case! Hopefully this won’t have an affect on the appearance of tattoos in NBA 2K in the future, but if the EA situation is anything to go by, it’s very possible that it will.

If you’re into that sort of thing, you can check out the complaint in greater detail over at Hollywood Reporter. What do you think of the situation? Let us know in the comments.

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