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Press Release

Professor King’s Work on Tattoo Copyrights
Cited in High-Profile Case on Copyright Infringement

February 11, 2016

DeKalb, Ill.--Northern Illinois University College of Law Associate Professor Yolanda M. King’s article entitled “The Challenges ‘Facing’ Copyright Protection for Tattoos” (92 Or. L. Rev. 129 (2013)) has been cited in a case against a video game manufacturer - claiming the tattoos displayed on several high-profile NBA players portrayed in a video game infringe on a company's copyright.

Solid Oak Sketches, the exclusive licensor of copyrighted tattoos which appear on some of the NBA’s most visible stars, including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, sued Visual Concepts, 2K Games, and Take-Two Interactive Software, alleging that the use of the tattoos on the players in the NBA2K16 video game is an infringement of the licensor’s copyrights.  Professor King’s article is cited (on pages 6-7) as support for the plaintiff’s allegation that the copyrighted tattoo designs fall under one of the categories of works of authorship of the federal copyright statute.

The high-profile NBA players involved have garnered national coverage of the story by ESPN.

Professor King, who was recently profiled in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin feature entitled “NIU Professor Becomes Expert on IP Tattoo Law,” has become a “go-to” resource for her thought leadership in the area of Intellectual Property Law. She has written several articles on the copyrightability of tattoos, the enforcement of tattoo copyrights and the application of right of publicity law to tattoos. Professor King has also spoken on the topic as part of a recent symposium at the Columbia Law School entitled “Copyright: Outside the Box”, part of the school’s annual series of copyright symposia.


For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or

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