Tattoo Artist Wins Court Case Over WWE 2K Reproducing Their Work In-Game


The tattoo artist who designed wrestler Randy Orton’s tattoos has won a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive for recreating her artwork in the WWE 2K video games.

As reported by Reuters, tattoo artist Catherine Alexander received $3,750 in damages after her designs being used without her permission in WWE 2K16, 2K17, and 2K18.

WWE and Take-Two had claimed the artwork was recreated in fair use but a jury voted in favour of Alexander, whose lawyer said the verdict set an important precedent in protecting tattoo artists’ copyrights.

Randy Orton (Image Credit: AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images)

Orton features as a playable character in WWE 2K meaning his entire likeness has been recreated in-game. This includes body art designed by Alexander – tribal tattoos, skulls, a bible verse, and a dove and rose – which prompted her to file the lawsuit in 2018.

The case sets an interesting precedent for sports sim creators, who regularly recreate tattooed athletes. While the atheletes themselves may consent to being recreated in-game, tatooed artwork on their bodies may now be deemed to require extra permissions.

It’s not the only controversy surrounding WWE 2K recently as its publisher 2K was recently hacked, with fake emails containing malware being sent from a legitimate account. The franchise’s reputation had also suffered in recent years as a result of WWE 2K20, which was released with myriad technical issues, that forced 2K to take a year off the previously annualised franchise.

It returned to success, however, as in our 8/10 review of the latest entry, IGN said: “WWE 2K22 is a tremendous leap forward compared to 2K20. The action is faster, more pick-up-and-play friendly, the roster of 160+ wrestlers has never looked better.”

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.


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