NBA 2K Creators Sued Over Unpermitted Use of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant’s Arm Tattoos
The new NBA 2K16 is an incredibly life-like game. The graphics are about as realistic as modern technology will allow us to get, and the game really dives deep into the physical details of the players and the game of basketball in general.
It looks like the game may have gotten a little too realistic this season, however.
Solid Oak Sketches, the company which apparently owns the copyrights to the tattoo of a child’s portrait in the clouds with script scrolls and doves on LeBron James’ forearm as well as the butterflies on Kobe Bryant, has filed a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts, the company responsible for the NBA 2K series, for use the tattoos in the latest version of the game without their permission.
Solid Oak Sketches reportedly connected Take-Two before the game was released, offering a usage license for $1.1 million.
“It’s clear that they knew that this was something that was to be negotiated,” said Darren Heitner, a lawyer at Heitner Legal who is representing Solid Oaks.
Why does the tattoo parlor have the rights to the tattoos on LeBron and Kobe’s bodies? I’m not going to argue against the lawsuit, I understand everyone’s just trying to make a buck, but shouldn’t it be the players receiving compensation for use of images on their body?
Are LeBron and Kobe allowed to use images of the tattoos? If the Cleveland Cavaliers put up a billboard with James on it, and the baby tat is visible, are they liable to be sued as well?
Solid Oaks is also claiming tattoos shown on Kenyon Martin, Eric Bledsoe, and DeAndre Jordan. Because Take-Two did not cooperate from the beginning, you can expect the payout to be a lot more than the original $1.1 million offer when all is said and done.
So, if any basketball players are reading this article, you better copyright your designs before the artist does. That way, in the event you go broke, you can just sue anyone who attempts to use the image.