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Mike Tyson's face-tattoo artist sues over ink in 'The Hangover 2'

April 29, 2011 |  5:46 pm

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The artist behind Mike Tyson's famous facial tattoo sued Warner Bros. in federal court Thursday over the tattoo's design being replicated on Ed Helms' face in the upcoming film "The Hangover Part II."

Missouri artist  S. Victor Whitmill, who tattooed Tyson's face in Las Vegas in 2003, brought the suit in St. Louis court seeking to block Warner Bros. from using the tattoo in ads for the film, which is due out in late May. 

The suit alleges that Whitmill retained all the rights to the image, including the copyright, even though it was tattooed to the former boxer's face, the St. Louis Times reported. Whitmill currently works out of a studio in Waynesville, Mo.

In the R-rated film's trailer, Helms' character acquires the tattoo after a wild night of bachelor revelry with costars Bradley CooperJustin Bartha and Zach Galifianakis. Helms' character, who famously loses teeth in the first film, has to deal with the stamp on his face before his wedding day.

"When Mr. Whitmill created the Original Tattoo, Mr. Tyson agreed that Mr. Whitmill would own the artwork and thus, the copyright in the Original Tattoo," the complaint said. "Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. -- without attempting to contact Mr. Whitmill, obtain his permission, or credit his creation -- has copied Mr. Whitmill's Original Tattoo and placed it on the face of another actor ... This unauthorized exploitation of the Original Tattoo constitutes copyright infringement."

The ads have been ubiquitous and the appearance of the tattoo is a pivotal tease to a second cameo for Tyson despite his absence in the trailer.

Warner Bros. declined to comment on the lawsuit.

RELATED:

Mike Tyson says he did 'The Hangover' for drug money

Bill Clinton to make cameo appearance in 'The Hangover 2'

'The Hangover Part II' trailer: Ken Jeong invited to Ed Helms' bachelor party

-- Nardine Saad
twitter.com / NardineSaad

Photo: Left, Mike Tyson. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press. Right, Ed Helms in the promotional poster for "The Hangover Part II." Credit: Warner Bros.

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