Lawyers from Warner Brothers stated yesterday that the studio may digitally alter the tattoo sported by Ed Helms in the comedy The Hangover Part II for that is at the heart of a copyright infringement case when it comes time to release the film on DVD and blu-ray home video.
As part of the brief filed Wednesday prior to a federal court hearing in St. Louis, the studio stated –
If the parties are unable to resolve their dispute, Warner Brothers does not intend to make any use of the allegedly infringing tattoo after the film ends its theatrical run because Warner Bros. will digitally alter the film to substitute a different tattoo on Ed Helms’ face.
The infringement case was brought against Warner Brothers by S. Victor Whitmill, the tattoo artist who created the famous Maori-like face tattoo sported by Mike Tyson, which is parodied in Hangover Part II. Whitman filed the suit less than a month before the film’s release but was unable to get a federal judge to delay the film’s theatrical run until the suit was settled.
However, when U. S. District Judge Catherine Perry declined to block the film’s release, she did allow the case to move forward on an expedited schedule stating that Whitmill as plaintiff “has a strong likelihood of success.”
The briefs filed yesterday by Warner Brothers were to support their argument that an expedited trial should not be granted. The judge agreed with Warner Brothers and set a trial date of February 21, 2012 rather than the August date Whitmill was seeking. Additionally, Perry set a mediation hearing date of June 16, so this whole incident could be wrapped up before it ever gets to trial.