The basis of the claims are allegations that the studio has copied the tattoo design in its upcoming movie, The Hangover Part II. Whitmill has requested an injunction to prevent the film from copying, distributing and publicly displaying the design in the film and promotional marketing of the sequel to the 2009 box-office success, The Hangover.
Whitmill created the tattoo for Tyson in February 2003. The copyright in the tattoo design, is owned by Whitmill and Tyson has additionally signed a release acknowledging that he doesn’t have rights. The complaint argues that Whitmill has never reproduced, authorized or licensed the design to anyone else, making Warner Brothers use of the design “reckless”.
Whitmill claims that the Warner Brother’s film, The Hangover 2, features a “virtually exact reproduction of the Original Tattoo, which appears on the upper left side of the Stu Price character’s face, played by actor Ed Helms.” One complication in this complaint is that Mike Tyson appeared in the first The Hangover movie in 2009. For more information on this case, see The AmeriKat.
Here’s my question. If a plastic surgeon (he) resculptures a pair of breasts for a client, does he have copyright in them? Is there an implied license that the client’s (her) display of his work in photography and film is acceptable? Would this be considered fair use? I expect that the answer to both questions would be yes. However, even if the assumed license and fair use would cover the magazines and film studios, would the plastic surgeon have standing if such images were reproduced illegally against the bootleg copier? She wouldn’t, but would he?