Of all of the bad news headlines for THQ I thought I’d write, this one was not one of them. A tattoo artist from Arizona called Chris Escobedo is suing THQ for putting one of his tattoos into UFC Undisputed 3. The tattoo appears on the side of UFC fighter Carols Condit’s stomach; he was motion-captured into the game with as much detail as possible, which included his tattoo.
According to Escobedo, who owns the company Elite Tattoo: “I would not have agreed to the recreation of the tattoo by any animator.” It’s clearly taken him quite some time to reach this conclusion, because the game has been out since February.
From a legal side of things, it seems as if Escobedo has a case against THQ. According to his lawyer, Maria Speth, “People often believe that they own the images that are tattooed on them by tattoo artists. In reality, the owner of the tattoo artwork is the creator of the work, unless there is a written assignment of the copyright in the tattoo art.” According to the press release, there was no such contract between Escobedo and Condit, and that means ownership of the original image remains with Escobedo.