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Tattoo artist sues WWE in Southern Illinois, says her designs were copied in video games

In this Sunday, April 3, 2011, file photo, WWE Superstar Randy Orton celebrates defeating CM Punk (not pictured) during WrestleMania XXVII at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.
In this Sunday, April 3, 2011, file photo, WWE Superstar Randy Orton celebrates defeating CM Punk (not pictured) during WrestleMania XXVII at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. AP Images for WWE

An Illinois tattoo artist is suing World Wrestling Entertainment, saying the company copied her designs in video game imagery of wrestler Randy Orton.

The tattoo artist, Catherine Alexander, says that sleeve and upper back tattoos she drew for Orton, a 13-time world champion professional wrestler for WWE, were copied in video games and WWE products, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Alexander said she contacted WWE in 2009 about Orton's tattoos being reproduced on products sold by WWE. The company offered her $450 for rights to use and reproduce the tattoo designs on products, and Alexander declined the offer.

She told WWE she did not give them permission to "copy, duplicate or otherwise use or reproduce any of (her) designs," according to the lawsuit. WWE did not respond for comment Wednesday.

Six years later, in 2015, WWE released a wrestling video game called "WWE 2K16" that featured Orton's tattoos in detail, according to the lawsuit. The same reproductions were shown in the subsequent 2K17 and 2K18 games, too.

The lawsuit says WWE and the video game companies should have known the tattoos were Alexander's works and that she owned the copyright to the design.

Alexander is suing the following video game companies: Take-Two Interactive Software; 2K Games, Inc.; 2K Sports, Inc.; Visual Concepts Entertainment; Yuke's Co, Ltd. and Yuke's LA Inc.

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