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Studio sues makers of 'NBA 2K16' for using player tattoos

Using LeBron and Kobe's tattoos in a game could land Take-Two in hot water.
Billy Steele
February 2, 2016
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B. Sevald/Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Sports video games attempt to offer an experience that's as lifelike as possible, which includes details like players' tattoos. NBA 2K16 is a title that does just that, and the pursuit of accuracy may land it in legal trouble. Take-Two, the parent company of 2K Sports that makes the basketball game, was hit with a lawsuit this week from the designers that created some of the big-name players' tattoos. Solid Oak Sketches, LLC claims that Take-Two should have to pay up for using the artwork in the game. Tattoo copyrights don't exist, but Solid Oak argues that the "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works" of the artists should be protected by law.

The company wants Take-Two to stop using the artwork and is seeking up to $150,000 per infringement. The images in question include eight tattoos on the digital likenesses of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan and Kenyon Martin. Solid Oak says it already tried to negotiate a licensing agreement with Take-Two for the sum of $1.14 million to no avail. That's a hefty sum to be able to include the ink on LeBron's arm for those free throw close-ups.

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