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'Hangover' tattoo lawsuit settled

By Matthew Belloni
/ Source: Reuters

By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fans of "The Hangover: Part II" can rest easy: the tattoo on Ed Helms' face is staying in the film.

Warner Bros. has settled the lawsuit brought by Missouri tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill over the mark on Helms' face, which Whitmill claimed infringed a copyrighted tattoo he created for boxer Mike Tyson.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. "Warner Bros. and Mr. Whitmill have amicably resolved their dispute. No other information will be provided," Whitmill's attorney Geoff Gerber said.

Sources say the deal was hammered out during an all-day mediation in St. Louis on Friday.

Whitmill, who created the original tattoo and registered the copyright, sued in April asking that a federal judge halt the release of the blockbuster comedy sequel because it prominently features the tattoo without permission.

But on May 24, just days before the film was scheduled to be released, a judge denied Whitmill's request for a preliminary injunction. The judge did suggest that she saw merit in the case, even referring to the studio's defenses as "silly."

In subsequent court filings, Warners said that it planned to digitally alter the tattoo for the home video version of the film if the case didn't settle quickly.

And now it has. A notice of dismissal is expected to be filed shortly, putting an end to one of the odder copyright cases in recent memory. The film, meanwhile, has gone on to earn almost $500 million worldwide. (To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at