He has gone to Federal District Court in St. Louis to ask a judge to stop Warner Brothers Entertainment from using the tattoo in its posters or in the movie, which would amount to stopping the film from being released, as well as to demand monetary damages for what he calls “reckless copyright infringement” by the studio.
“Mr. Whitmill has never been asked for permission for, and has never consented to, the use, reproduction or creation of a derivative work based on his original tattoo,” argues the lawsuit, which was filed April 28, and will be taken up next week.
The suit isn’t frivolous, however, legal experts say. They contend the case could offer the first rulings on tricky questions about how far the rights of the copyright holder extend in creations that are, after all, on someone else’s body. They are questions likely to crop up more often as it becomes more common for actors or athletes to have tattoos and as tattoo designs become more sophisticated.