As previously reported, Mike Tyson's tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill is currently suing Warner Bros. for using the artwork for his copyrighted tattoo design in The Hangover Part II. His legal actions were in pursuit of an injunction against the comedy sequel, which is scheduled to open this Thursday. Had the court found in his favor, Warner Bros. stood to lose millions on their marketing campaign, and possibly millions more had they needed to move the film back to a different, possibly more crowded weekend. The release will go as planned. Hollywood Reporter reports that Chief Judge Catherine D. Perry of the Eastern District of Missouri denied Whitmill's injunction, declaring that the "plaintiff’s failed attempt to enjoin H2 in order to try and extract a massive settlement payment from Warner Bros. was highly inappropriate and unwarranted.”
But… He still has a case.
Although Judge Perry thought Whitmill was going too far in pursuing an injunction, which would have placed both the production company and theater owners in dire straits unnecessarily, she admitted that Whitmill actually had a strong case on his hands. Whitmill was asking for $30 million in damages from Warner Bros, but that number was based on the amount of money the studio would have lost from the injunction. It's unlikely now that Whitmill will receive that whole amount, or even a significant fraction of it.
Whitmill's attorny Geoffrey Gerber sent Hollywood Reporter the following statement:
"While we are disappointed that the motion was denied, we are quite pleased by Judge Perry’s findings that Mr. Whitmill proved a “strong likelihood of success” on the merits and that most of Warner Bros. defenses were “just silly.” Judge Perry recognized copyright law protects tattoos and that Warner Bros. had no permission to use Mr. Whitmill’s artwork in the movie. We look forward to further vindicating our client’s rights at trial in the near future, including a permanent injunction preventing further distribution of the movie. In her decision, the judge expressed concern about the potential harm that could be suffered by all of the theater operators if the movie could not open this weekend. We certainly understand. These are innocent third parties put in this position by Warner Bros."
Crave Online will be back with a review of The Hangover Part II tomorrow.