The Hangover tattoo won’t have to be removed

With the second Hangover film on track to make about a trillion dollars at the box office, there was one potential legal problem that could have been a major fly in the ointment which finally just got settled.

Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you can see in the posters that Ed Helms has Mike Tyson’s face tattoo, a very funny sight gag. 

However, the guy who created the artwork, S. Victor Whitmill, sued Warner Brothers in April for copyright infringement, and there was talk that an injunction would keep the movie from release, as well as the tattoo having to be digitally removed from the DVD. 

It would have been interesting to see if the tattoo would have to be removed, which with digital technology wouldn’t have been tough to do, and they could have had fun with the DVD with a choose your own face tattoo special feature.


This has also brought up many interesting legal debates because let’s say you get a tattoo copyrighted, and someone gets a similar one, what can you really sue for? 

The hundreds to thousands of dollars in payable time it took to apply? If it’s only on your arm, or whatever part of your body you choose to get, who’s even seeing it? 

It’s probably akin to the fact that you can’t copyright a joke, which leaves a lot of struggling comedians very vulnerable to even the biggest comedians, some of whom have not been above ripping off other people’s material.


Not to mention this was the best free publicity the artist could have asked for. He could have put the poster in his shop window, and potentially made a lot of money riding the movie’s coat tails.

Hopefully the settlement will cover the third Hangover movie, so they can either keep the tattoo on Helms’s face, or do a funny gag where he’s trying to get it removed, or who knows what.

And as mentioned earlier, there were also plenty of comedic possibilities available if they removed the tattoo as well. 

Come to think of it, they can do two versions of the DVD and Blu-Ray, with tattoo and without, and make even more money.