LeBron James assumed he owned the rights to license his image -- including his tattoos -- to the NBA for use in the popular 2K video games. But tattoo artists disagree.

Solid Oak Sketches filed a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive, alleging it owns the rights to LeBron's tattoos and the body ink on other NBA players.

James was shocked to learn he could not license his tattoos to the NBA.

"My understanding is that [my] tattoos are a part of my body and my likeness, and I have the right to have my tattoos visible when people or companies depict what I look like," James stated in August.

"I always thought that I had the right to license what I look like to other people for various merchandise, television appearances, and other types of creative works, like video games."

But Solid Oak argued that James owns the rights to his likeness, not the tattoos which he did not draw himself.

Solid Oak compared the rights of the tattoo artist to a photographer, who owns the copyrights to any image he takes.

"Importantly, neither Mr. James nor any of the other relevant professional basketball players whose tattoos are at issue in the instant lawsuit, did or could have licensed the underlying copyrights to Defendants," Solid Oak wrote in the filing.

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

  • jeniefrumdabloc™

    Wow ....

  • Kim’s Original Face

    Yikes! That’s wild..

  • Yoni7

    Hell, we don't own our own children. Tattoos aren't any different. Sign those papers (contracts) and you sign away your life. They will always "own" you and everything you stand for.

    "Owe me back like you owe yo taxes." ~Nas

  • Shamwow

    Lawd and I thought I done heard it all

  • Quitedeliteful

    This is crazy! He should be able to showcase his tattoos and maybe give written credit to where he got the work done. This is nuts!

  • Alextra Ballard

    Unfvckenbelievable...you caint be serious

  • Pitty Patty

    New slaves...and they didn't even know it

  • Alextra Ballard

    We finna go backwards..owning nuggas and they tattoos

  • Blaque Mahogany

    But he purchased the tattoo...

  • Logan Roberts

    Learn something new everyday, what's next?

  • Liah

    Smh...Everyone want a check!

  • Alextra Ballard

    How you purchased somn,and it's not yours?

  • Alextra Ballard

    I guess their saying they still own the rights

  • morenYAHdelsur

    What in THE entire hell is going on?!? LMBO

  • Queen B

    This is complete bullshît...once someone pays u for your artistry and your work it is no longers. If I pay a photographer for a picture s/he took its now MINES....not urs mf'er!!

  • hi-liter

    Did he get the tats for free? If you pay for something, isn't it YOURS at that point?

  • Sassie

    This lawsuit is without merit and will get thrown out.

  • Judge Mental Will

    so a person in a flea market own my tattoos? GTFOH

  • http://thedevereauxshow.com/ Ms.Devereaux

    Nope just like those school pictures your kids take if you try to have them put on a cake or t sHirt or merchandise the company is suppose to ask you for a release that happend to me one time I took a picture to have it put on a cake and I was asked for a release I think at that time life touch had took that particular photo

  • Lisa ????

    You get millions of dollars to play with a ball. You have nothing to complain about in life. Nothing. Privileged crybaby

  • anoel06

    It's not that simple, and a little trickier when it comes to someone's artistry, photographers included. Yes it's on his body, but he didn't draw it himself, it's not his "work", if you will. You can use for personal reasons, however when used in a professional manner, the artist's "art" is being displayed and if professional permission wasn't granted prior, then a lawsuit can be obtained. Maybe now people should be going into these shops or when dealing with professionals, cross all t's and dot all i's, especially if you know there's a possibility that you can collect a check displaying someone else's artistry. Now on the other hand, I will say that this is beyond petty and downright greedy on the part of the tattoo shop. If it were me, I'd simply ask for credit, it's all business coming to me at the end of the day!

  • TMW

    So basically what I’m hearing is that LeBron won’t be getting his tattoos done by them anymore...and that going forward he will get the artist to sign a release. OK.

  • TMW

    I laughed.

  • anoel06

    Exactly! Dot them i's.... smh

  • Fire & Ice

    I hope so! Ugh more frivolous bullsh*t. If this goes through, it will open the door to a lot of foolishness. These folks are looking for a come up ?.

  • anoel06

    Yep! The photographer is supposed to give a release for personal reasons, such as putting them on a cake, etc. However, if you're looking to make a buck on your likeness, that's where things get complicated....lol

  • supastar

    Well, you learn something new everyday.

  • supastar

    yeah that's a done deal. They are about to go out of business.

  • DaughterOfaQueen

    Some problems I just know I'll never have.

  • Yui

    So, now I guess Larry and the gang at Focused in Cleveland might join in too. Doubt it, lol. Wonder does Solid Oak gonna claim every tatt?

    Of all the things to sue about. When I got my tatts, no where in any of the paperwork I had to sign say, the artist had the right to the tattoo. js

  • RentEmSpoons

    Actually mike Tyson , actually the movie studio had this same issue over 10 years with the movie hangover.

    The tattoo artist waited until the sequel came out to sue. Instead of paying the tattoo artist, the studio actually spent hundreds of thousands scrubbing the tattoo off his face frame by frame before the dvd release.

  • RentEmSpoons

    He can it just needs to be original artwork.

  • RentEmSpoons

    Not always . SOmeone can take a photo of you and store it on flicker and if you or someone else tried to use without permission, then you have no round unless they’ll approve it or say nothing about it.

    The ownership of a photo goes with the photographer. The only thing is that They can’t use your photo to slander you in a bad light.

  • RentEmSpoons


  • RentEmSpoons

    Yes, but you still need to have paperwork or proof showing then they were hired, if not then they own your photo of you.

  • RentEmSpoons

    Not true at all. If it’s orginal artwork , they can sue and Win. Prime example is when mike Tyson famous face tattoo . The movie studio was sued for using his tattoo in the movie. They paid hundreds of thousands to remove face tatt frame by frame but they still had to settle and pay up in the end.


  • Anunnaki, in A twilight Zone

    I gotta stay off the internet, i really do, the dumbest chyt, is starting to aggervate me. The DUMBEST CHYT. u poison my temple with ink cause i let u, now u want the ink back....look to the heavens, are you still up there, my Lord

  • Faithz

    What in the World will people come up with next, to try to make money of People who are paid.

  • Faithz

    I sure hope so this is like trying to police
    these athletes bodies.

  • Applebootay

    I thinking the same thing...just dumb azz hell...

  • Faithz

    But even though he paid for the art work. It seem like this would be like buying some art work are a expensive piece of furniture, and the sellers want something beside the payment you paid them, Just saying.

  • Faithz

    Another though is if a woman paid for breast, and the Dr try to have a state in her body after the surgery, Just thinking out loud.

  • We Can Do This

    No one wants to work for their money and always scheming others out of what they have.

  • We Can Do This

    Pay an artist for the rights then have someone draw it on you. Trademark the design.

  • J2PC

    Just like the shoes worn & branded on his feet, he doesn't own the artwork of his tattoos. Those are the intellectual properties or ideas of it's creator who deserves a piece of the pie for branding him in his likeness. -branded with scars like a cow, but calling it art. Ok. ?

  • Prettybrowneound35

    What in the white people hell????!

  • davine puddin

    Didnt same thing happened in hang over 3 when dude got mike tyson same tattoo? The artist sued

  • Lolly Asher

    The mind reels. Pro athletes are going to need contracts for their skin. Does Black Ink have a copyright expert on staff?

  • http://www.beautyisland.org BeautyIsland.org

    I get it.. You drew it, it's yours. They ask you if you have your own artwork when you get a tatt soooooo...You have to purchase the design or design it yourself before you get there. If they use the same tatt they designed on someone else you have no beef if it's not yours..

  • Yup, I said it

    Thats Teddys job.

  • Dowoop

    Better hope they get some money from this because business is about to nose dive for them... Who would still want to get a tattoo from them?

  • Dowoop

    ???... That was just petty but just.

  • Yui

    I wouldn’t.

  • Mr. Poopybutthole


  • Storm’s Rage!

    lol. Couch Potato.

  • Storm’s Rage!

    Yes, I was about to say the same thing. They sue over the Mike Tyson tribal tat.

  • Storm’s Rage!

    Some ish that black people need to learn!