It will take more than a facial tattoo to get rid of this “Hangover.”
Back in April, we heard some talk of a tattoo artist trying to stop the release of “The Hangover: Part II” because his famous work (which can be seen, in real life and in the original film, on the face of Mike Tyson), was used without permission on Ed Helm’s mug in the sequel. He even went so far as to file a lawsuit in federal court.
The award-winning artist S. Victor Whitmill, who designed the tribal tattoo in 2003, claimed in the suit that Warner Bros. violated his copyright, while the studio argued the facial tat was reproduced under the “fair use” provision. In other words, WB and its lawyers argued, it’s parody, dude! All this drama had the possibility of halting the release date, which is set for Thursday May 26…until, that is, a few hours ago.
On Tuesday (May 24), a judge denied Whitmill’s motion for an injunction to prevent the film’s release, though the suit itself was not dismissed. Following the move, Warner Bros. released a statement saying, “We are very gratified by the Court’s decision which will allow the highly anticipated film, ’The Hangover: Part II,’ to be released on schedule this week around the world.” The studio also called Whitmill’s attempt to obtain a massive settlement “highly inappropriate and unwarranted.”
Geoffrey Gerber, the plaintiff’s attorney, said in a statement that they were “disappointed” the motion was denied but found pleasure in the fact that “Judge Perry’s findings that Mr. Whitmill proved a ’strong likelihood of success’ on the merits and that most of Warner Bros. defenses were ’just silly.’ ”
If you ask us, adding a copyright logo to Mike Tyson’s face would have helped avoid this legal mess.