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'Hangover' Tattoo Lawsuit: Studio Will Change Tattoo on DVD

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on June 09, 2011 1:55 PM

The Hangover tattoo lawsuit has taken another turn. Warner Bros. has now told the Missouri judge handling the case that it will digitally alter the Mike Tyson face tattoo inked on actor Ed Helms' face in its future DVD release of the movie if the lawsuit is not settled by then.

S. Victor Whitmill, the original tattoo artist for Mike Tyson's iconic facial tattoo, originally filed for an injunction to prevent the release of Hangover 2.

Whitmill's argument was that when he and Tyson agreed that Whitmill would retain the rights related to his tattoo artwork. Helms' facial tattoo, as a result, would be infringing on his copyright, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Warner Bros. had earlier prevailed - in part, at least. A judge denied Whitmill's request for an injunction to prevent the release of the movie. But, his lawsuit is still proceeding ahead, despite the release of the film.

In fact, he had just filed for a request for an expedited trial, reports Entertainment Weekly. Spurred by this request, Warner Bros. countered with its decision to alter Helms' facial tattoo in the movie's DVD and Blu-ray release.

"As a result, there is no reason for the highly accelerated trial Plaintiff has asked this Court to hold on Plaintiff's request for a permanent injunction," Warner Bros.' attorneys wrote in their filing, reports Entertainment Weekly.

The DVD is likely to be released in December of this year, which would give the studio time to digitally alter the film. The trial has now been set to February 2012, reports Reuters.

So, why the sudden concession by Warner Bros.? For one, it seems to have bought the studio some time to prep for the case and attempt to settle. Most likely, it seems that the studio will try to settle with the artist before the release of the DVDs to avoid a costly process of altering the film post-production.

So while Whitmill hasn't scored a win yet in his Hangover tattoo lawsuit, at the very least maybe he can rest assured that the Tyson face tattoo won't resurface on DVD and Blu-ray - unless he settles before then, of course.

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