LeBron James is among a number of players whose tattoos have sparked a lawsuit against NBA 2K developer Visual Concepts.
Solid Oak Sketches has brought a lawsuit against Visual Concepts over depictions of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe in the NBA 2K series.
The company claims copyright over the tattoo designs, and describes their appearance in game as unauthorised reproductions.
This is at least the second such case, following on from a fracas over Carlos Condit’s lion tattoo in UFC Undisputed 3. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that suit resulted in a $22,500 payout to the original artist.
Drawing on this history, and looking at NBA 2K's sales, the new suit argues the eight tattoos in question are worth $572,000. But because LeBron James appears on the game's cover, showing two of his tattoos, the artists consider these particular designs to be "conservatively at least four times the value of the rest of the tattoos", pushing the claimed value up to $819,500.
That's a lot of moolah to cough up each year of the athletes' careers, but Solid Oak Sketches has offered Take-Two a perpetual license on the designs for $1,144,000. The publisher seems to have ignored this offer, so off to court we go.
Good luck to 'em, because they'll need it; Take Two is fabulously wealthy (GTA, of course, but NBA 2K itself is a huge breadwinner) and has a legion of ferocious lawyers.