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WWE heads to court to fight claims that they stole Randy Orton’s tattoo design for a video game

WWE is going to court after a long standing issue with Catherine Alexander over tattoo work for Randy Orton that dates back to 2009.

The Hollywood Report has a story about how at first, Alexander heard a rumor that WWE was going to release a new consumer product, faux sleeves. These were for fans who wanted to pretend to be their favorite wrestler as the sleeves had tattoo work on them.

At the time, she contacted WWE and told them that she was Orton’s tattoo artist and was willing to negotiate for any reproductions of her work. She claimed the person she spoke with told her that she had no grounds about the matter.

An Illinois federal judge issued a partial summary judgment that states WWE and Take-Two Interactive Software, which is the publisher of the WWE 2K series of video games, had indeed copied her work.

Now, a court case will see a jury figure out whether or not it was copyright infringement. According to the court documents, Orton has stated that he understood the tattoos were for personal usage and was never told that he needed permission to make them visible.

This trial will also figure out whether the defendants’ position is right, which is that the game’s use of tattoos was a copyright fair use.

The judge stated, “Alexander contends she created the tattoos for the purpose of displaying them on Orton’s body and that Defendants used the tattoos for the same purpose; to display them on Orton’s body in the video games. Alexander also disputes Defendants’ characterization of the size of the tattoos and maintains they are prominently displayed and clearly visible in the video games. These are material factual disputes.”

You can check out the full report and see the court documents here. 

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