WWE and Take-Two just experienced an unexpected loss in court, as an Illinois federal jury has found in favor of Catherine Alexander in the trial over copyright infringement regarding Randy Orton's tattoos. The suit was filed in 2018, with Alexander saying that she owns the copyright to the designs used in Orton's tattoos in the WWE 2K video games. Alexander has been evidently tattooing Orton since 2003, and today the jury ruled in favor of the plating and against Take-Two, 2K Games, Visual Concepts Entertainment, and WWE (via @copyrightlately). You can find the post regarding the verdict below.
WWE nor Take-Two or Orton have commented on the lawsuit, the verdict, or a possible appeal, but if any of that information breaks we will keep you posted. As of now, it's also not clear on what the verdict will mean for how tattoo designs are handled from this point forward, as Orton is far from the only superstar with extensive tattoo designs in the game.
This could end up affecting future games and character models in a major way, either from their removal or just from changing practices on how they are handled and how payment is handled regarding them behind the scenes.
In a previous report by TMZ Sports, Alexander said she has previously discussed the issue with WWE in 2009, saying that the tattoos she designed were being used in the games. She also stated she was offered $450 as compensation for the company to obtain the rights to those designs, but she declined the offer.
Update: The jury at the US District Court Southern District of Illinois has ruled that Alexander is entitled to compensation, and is set to receive $3,750 in damages.
It remains to be seen if this will have any effect on WWE 2K23, which is in development now and is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2023.