WWE and 2K Games are punching back at a recent court decision that said the companies wrongfully depicted Randy Orton’s tattoos in video games without the artist’s permission.
In September, a jury ruled in favor of Illinois tattoo artist Catherine Alexander’s legal case against WWE, 2K Games, Take-Two Interactive Software, and Yukes, awarding Alexander $3,750. Despite the relatively small payout, WWE and 2K Games filed an appeal against the decision this month, according to a report on Friday by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The Observer writes that the thinking behind WWE and 2K Games’ decision to appeal is that "by ruling in favor of Alexander, even with the next to nothing award, it did open the door to tattoo artists that work on wrestlers suing for some money if the wrestlers are in a video game or marketed in other ways."
Lawyers for the companies are reportedly hoping to get the verdict thrown out and begin a new case in which a judge would make the ruling, rather than a jury. As previously reported by Wrestling Inc., court documents showed that U.S. District Judge Staci M. Yandle ruled in September that the defendants "copied Alexander’s copyrighted tattoos," and that "they are liable for copyright infringement unless they can establish an affirmative defense to their usage."
Alexander tattooed Orton multiple times between 2003 and 2008 and copyrighted her work. The lawsuit was first filed in 2018 and recently included a three-hour testimony from Orton himself before the jury reached its decision. Wrestling Inc. has reached out to Alexander’s lawyer for comment on the appeal.