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NBA 2K16 Studio Sued Over Some Video Game Tattoos

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If you ever look at your day job and think, self, I could be making more money, then maybe you oughta consider a career in video game sports tattoo litigation.

As ridiculous as that may seem, there’s money in it! In 2012, a tattoo artist was awarded over $20,000 when THQ used one of his trademarked designs in a UFC game. A year later another artist sued EA for using one of his designs—inked on former NFL running back Ricky Williams—without permission.

Now ESPN reports that Solid Oak Sketches, who own copyrights on a number of tattoos they’ve done for players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, are suing 2K over their work’s appearance in NBA 2K16.


Solid Oak originally offered to license the art to 2K for $1.1 million, and are now only suing because 2K didn’t take them up on the offer.

It sounds trivial, but then, a tattoo—or at least the kind of ones we’re talking about here— is a work of art. You need permission to use logos and photos in a game, so a tattoo should be no different.