Breaking Down The Way NBA 2K Producer Defended Its Rim Against Tattoo Copyright Claims. On Thursday, the video game industry won a major battle in NBA 2K22 MT a longstanding controversy over the reproduction of tattoos in sports video games. The case involved a copyright action brought by Strong Oak Sketches Inc. to enforce exclusive rights acquired from musicians who did tattoo work to get LeBron James, Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe.

In the conclusion, U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain discovered that: (a) the level of copying of the tattoos had been de minimis rather than large, (b) the manufacturer had a non-exclusive implied license to reproduce the tattoos in the video games, and (c) the copies constituted"fair use" for the transformative nature. To best understand the importance of Judge Swain's conclusion, it's required to unpack every finding, beginning with the level of copying.

To maintain a copyright act, the plaintiff must include in their claims enough proof to demonstrate that the defendant copied their work and that the copy is substantially similar to the initial creation. For a copy to be eligible as much under the Copyright Act, the similarities between the functions must be greater than de minimis (i.e. minuscule). 

Judge Swain found that the degree of replicating in this case dropped below the threshold of large copying. In reaching this conclusion, Judge Swain used the ordinary observer test, which requires the court to consider whether a lay person would understand the reproduction substantially copied and made use of the plaintiff's copyright protected work.

In supporting this holding, Judge Swain discovered the images of the tattoos were distorted to some degree and were too small in scale to issue (a mere 4.4% to 10.96percent of the magnitude of the real things). Not only that, but only three from 400 players showcased in the match had tattoos which were at controversy. For the court, that quantity of Buy 2K22 MT copying qualified as de minimis rather than substantial.