Victor Whitmill, the tattoo artist asking for an injunction against the release of The Hangover II, has failed in his first quest- the film will be released on schedule. Considering the lengths and expense to which Warner Brothers has gone to market the film, the wide variety of copyright defenses they’ll have available to them, and all of the secondary and tertiary business and individuals that stood to lose out if the film was halted, it was never likely that the injunction would succeed. Screenings and marketing have progressed as normal and now its (surely massive) opening will continue this weekend.

The story isn’t over- there is still a case that will be heard, and it will apparently be expedited so that a conclusion can be reached before DVD and other home video returns are a factor. The judge remains open to hearing the artist’s case as he attempts to prove he has a legitimate, relevant copyright and that the tattoo in the film is similar. From all accounts he can do both, but Warner Brothers has a lot of arguments, not least of which is that Mike Tyson’s presence in the film creates an implied parody (spoiler, if you’re silly). They also have plenty of muscle with which they can go after his original claim of copyright over an image on someone’s skin, considering that the person has actually been involved in the franchise.

I’m not usually one to root against the little guy, but it’s completely valid that the film not being released would fuck a hell of a lot more people than one high-profile tattoo artist. If his case is fully legitimate, then he’s not going to walk away from all of this without some cash in his pocket, and there is a definitely an argument for both ends of this case. Now it can proceed in court and get decided the old-fashioned way: by whose lawyers are better.

So you can see The Hangover II this weekend. The question is if you really want to. Nick and I saw it last night, and… well… we’ll let you know soon.

Source | THR

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