When NBA 2K16 depicted the tattoos of LeBron James, Kenyon Martin, and Eric Bledsoe on its in-game models, it led to a lawsuit from the original tattoo artists. Tattoo company Solid Oak Sketches filed a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts, claiming the companies didn’t license the tattoo designs owned by Solid Oak.
A federal judge has now ruled in favor of the developers, saying that the tattoos make such a minor appearance in the game that copyright can’t be claimed, and that an implied license was granted via the players, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
After a judge refused to dismiss the case initially, James himself testified. “My understanding is that [my] tattoos are a part of my body and my likeness, and I have the right to have my tattoos visible when people or companies depict what I look like. I always thought that I had the right to license what I look like to other people for various merchandise, television appearances, and other types of creative works, like video games,” James said, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter.