Mike Tyson’s tattoo artist can’t stop “Hangover II”

Despite a copyright lawsuit over the ink on Ed Helms' face, the show will go on

Topics: Movie news, Copyright, Movies,

Mike Tyson's tattoo artist can't stop "Hangover II"Tyson's tattoo on Helm's face.

“The Hangover: Part II” premieres this week, despite an attempt at an injunction from the man who tattooed Mike Tyson’s face in 2003. A federal judge ruled that S. Victor Whitmill could not stop Warner Bros. from releasing the film, despite the artist’s claims that the movie infringed on his copyright of Tyson’s facial tattoo. Warner Bros. claims the image falls under fair use.

In the sequel, Ed Helms’ character, Stu, wakes up before his wedding with a design that is clearly supposed to be taken from Tyson’s own tat (the boxer appears in both “The Hangover” and its sequel).

In case you haven’t memorized what Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo looks like, here is a refresher:

The judge ruled that although Whitmill may have a copyright case, he couldn’t delay the film’s release, which Warner Bros. has already paid $80 million to promote. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine D. Perry did agree that Whitmill had a strong case, however, but that the film’s delay would hurt third parties such as movie theaters and distributors.

You Might Also Like

It will be interesting to see how this case plays out when Whitmill sues, since we will finally find out if a tattoo can be copyrighted, whether or not it’s considered “art” (your parents certainly don’t think so), and if it is, who owns it: the person whose skin the tattoo is on, or the person who actually created the tattoo? According to Whitmill’s lawyers, The lawsuit isn’t about Tyson at all:

“This case is not about Mike Tyson, Mike Tyson’s likeness, or Mike Tyson’s right to use or control his identity,” reads the suit. “This case is about Warner Bros. appropriation of Mr. Whitmill’s art and Warner Bros. unauthorized use of that art, separate and apart from Mr. Tyson.”

But if Tyson willingly agreed to be in the movie, and the tattoo on Helms’ face is a reference to Tyson’s character, then is it actually “separate and apart” from Tyson’s image?

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.


    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.


    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>