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2K Wins Motion To Dismiss Some Damages In Lawsuit Over NBA 2K16 Tattoos

by Mike Futter on Aug 03, 2016 at 11:12 AM

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2K and parent company Take-Two can breath a sigh of relief following the dismissal of some requested damages in a lawsuit that might have cost the company billions. A case brought by tattoo designer Solid Oak Sketches attempted to secure statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement for unauthorized use of eight designs in NBA 2K16.

United States district judge Laura Taylor Swan granted 2K’s motion to dismiss statutory based on timing of the design copyright. The first use of the tattoo images was in 2013’s NBA 2K14. The designs were not copyrighted until 2015. 

The law states that if the first use pre-dates copyright and there is not a significant period of non-use that statutory damages and attorney fees cannot be awarded. Because NBA 2K games used the tattoos in the same way and are considered to be repeated, non-interrupted use, 2K will avoid potentially enormous statutory damages.

However, actual damages (money that Solid Oak Sketches has lost due to the infringement) are still on the table. The case will proceed, but the stakes have been severely lessened for 2K.

[Source: United States District Court, Southern District of New York via Reuters]


Our Take
2K and parent company Take-Two could end up having to pay a bit here, but only if Solid Oak Sketches can show how NBA 2K16 use of the tattoos directly and adversely impacted the designer. These damages need to be quantifiable and are not designed to punish, but rather to remunerate the injured party for revenues lost.

Dismissal of NBA 2K16 Tattoo Design Suit by Michael Futter on Scribd