The controversy: This week, a federal judge decided to allow the movie The Hangover Part 2 to open on Friday as scheduled, rejecting a request to by tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill to have the release stopped. Whitmill says the filmmakers violated his copyright, by aping the Maori-inspired pattern he inked on Mike Tyson's face in 2003. The former heavyweight champ made a memorable appearance in the original Hangover, and the sequel has Ed Helms' character sporting a face tattoo just like the boxer's. Pictures of Helms with the tattoo have been used to market the film.
The reaction: "Fear not potential moviegoers: Your Memorial Day plans just got a reprieve," says Sarah Anne Hughes in The Washington Post. But Warner Bros. shouldn't get too comfortable, says Noam Cohen in The New York Times. Even though Judge Catherine Perry said the movie could still be released, she also ruled that Whitmill's lawsuit could proceed, and "made clear that her sympathies were entirely on the side of the artist." But "unfortunately for Whitmill, "without the leverage of a possible injunction hanging over the studio's head," he'll probably be offered a much smaller settlement, says Matthew Belloni in The Hollywood Reporter. Sheesh, says Stefan Doyno at MTV. This whole "legal mess" could have been avoided, if only the artist "had added a copyright logo to Mike Tyson's face."
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