The WWE may own their wrestlers’ likenesses to produce toys and video games, but when individual elements of those likenesses inspire new products, a federal judge says the water is a little more murky.
Randy Orton’s tattoo artist sued the WWE for copying her work. The company, along with video game developer Take Two Interactive sold downloadable versions of wrestlers’ body art to be used to customize created characters in the game. A federal court in Illinois ruled that the case could proceed to trial.
Catherine Alexander, the tattoo artist, says that initially a WWE lawyer laughed at her request to negotiate for compensation. The company’s position was that there was no legal basis for Alexander’s demands.
Judge Staci Yandle dismissed the WWE’s request for a summary judgement. She believes that there are certain parts of this case that should be heard at trial. It will be the first ever copyright trial centered on the unauthorized reproduction of tattoos.
The implications for sports, players associations, and the video game industry could be huge. Take Two Interactive, who produces the WWE 2K video game series, has been through a version of this trial before though.
In March of 2019, a ruled against a company claiming to own the designs of tattoos on LeBron James, Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe. It sued Take Two Interactive for copyright infringement for using the designs in the studio’s NBA 2K series. A judge ruled in favor of Take Two, saying that on the video game, the designs were too small to bare a reasonable likeness to the ones the plaintiff owned.
What exactly is different in the WWE case is unclear. Is it because the tattoos are being sold as their own products? Is it that WWE 2K offers more high definition graphics and the tattoos more clearly resemble Alexander’s artwork?
For the record, Randy Orton was taken aback by Catherine Alexander’s lawsuit. In a declaration presented to the court, he said that he believed that once the designs were on his body, they were part of his image. He was not aware that he or anyone else would need permission to reproduce them.
Chris Long Didn’t Like the Attention That Came With TV Analyst Work
“If I’m like ‘Damn I got to take a flight up there every week, I got to get suits’, then I don’t really want to do that.”
Former NFL defensive end Chris Long has found his niche in the media space as the host of The Green Light Podcast and it is an outlet that he has been very comfortable with in terms of expressing his opinions.
Long was a guest on The Season with Peter Schrager podcast and he told Schrager that on the occasions when he has been an analyst on television, the attention he got was not something he was completely comfortable with.
“Sure, I maybe could work towards having one of those good jobs, but I also understand there’s a big process with that.
“I’ve been at a crossroads at times as a media guy where I’m like ‘Should I just do that?’ If I got to ask myself, then I don’t really want it. If I’m like ‘Damn I got to take a flight up there every week, I got to get suits’, then I don’t really want to do that and honestly, the couple of times I’ve been on TV, I don’t like the attention.”
One of the reasons Long mentioned why he isn’t comfortable being on TV is he doesn’t want to feel like he has to perform and on his podcast, he can be himself.
“Being on TV, I get really uncomfortable performing. I don’t like performing and I don’t like being told what to say. Here, that never happens. For the most part, I think finding your groove in this side of things is just having conversations…It’s just a nice change of pace.”
Long also feels that in this day and age of social media, it’s a constant argument about any NFL point that is being made and that is not something he wants to deal with.
“The world of podcasting has gotten better where the money is very good. Maybe I’d be making a little less money starting out doing studio stuff. For me, I do not like — whether it’s Twitter or whether it’s a guy on the street — I’m over arguing with people.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Launching Podcast with Dale Earnhardt Jr & Dirty Mo Media
“New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Dirty Mo Media has announced a podcast deal with NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin will host Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin on a weekly basis during the NASCAR season. The Actions Detrimental branding is verbiage used by NASCAR for fines assessed to drivers for their disparaging comments about the sport. Known as one of NASCAR’s more outspoken drivers, Hamlin has been fined several times under the “actions detrimental to stock car racing” statutes.
New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.
Denny Hamlin jokingly thanked Dirty Mo Media for the “opportunity and the fat check” the company wrote for him to host the podcast in a Twitter announcement.
The 42-year-old Hamlin has won 48 races during his 18-year NASCAR Cup Series career. In addition to serving as a driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, he co-owns 23XI Racing with basketball legend Michael Jordan.
The podcast is the latest in an expansion of content produced by the Mooresville, North Carolina-based digital outlet. After beginning with The Dale Jr. Download, the company has grown to include other podcasts like Door, Bumper, Clear, and Speed Street, as well as video projects like The Next Level.
Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts
“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”
Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.
“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”
The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.
Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.
“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”