On Thursday, the video NBA 2K21 MT industry won a major battle in a longstanding controversy over the breeding of tattoos in sports video games. The case involved a copyright action brought on by Strong Oak Sketches Inc. to enforce exclusive rights obtained from artists that failed tattoo work to get LeBron James, Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe. In the case, Strong Oak Sketches sought damages under the Copyright Act from Take Two Interactive Software Inc. for containing reproductions of the the supposedly copyright-protected tattoos on avatars for James, Martin and Bledsoe from the favorite NBA 2K movie games.
In the decision, U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain found that: (a) the degree of copying of these tattoos had been de minimis rather than large, (b) the manufacturer had a non-exclusive implied license to replicate the tattoos in the video games, and (c) the copies constituted"fair use" for the transformative nature. To best understand the significance of Judge Swain's conclusion, it's required to unpack every finding, starting with the level of copying.
To sustain a copyright act, the plaintiff must include in their asserts enough proof to show that the defendant copied their work and that the copy is much like the initial creation. For a copy to qualify as substantially similar under the Copyright Act, the similarities between the works have to be greater than de minimis (i.e. minuscule). Judge Swain found that the degree of replicating in this case fell below the threshold of substantial copying. In reaching this decision, Judge Swain utilized the ordinary observer test, which requires the court to think about if a lay person would recognize the reproduction substantially copied and forced use of the plaintiff's copyright protected function.
The court held that no reasonable lay person could conclude that the tattoos featured in the match are substantially-similar to those featured on the bodies of the actual players. In supporting this holding, Judge Swain discovered that the images of the tattoos were twisted to a degree and were too small in scale to matter (a mere 4.4percent to 10.96% of the size of the real things). Not just that, but only three from 400 players featured in the game had tattoos which were at controversy. For the Cheap NBA 2K21 MT Coins courtroom, that amount of copying qualified as de minimis rather than substantial.