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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • 'Hangover: Part II' can open despite Mike Tyson face tattoo lawsuit, judge says

    “The Hangover: Part II” is back on!

    A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the movie can open this weekend despite a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the man who created the famous face tattoo for Mike Tyson that is also worn in the movie by one of its stars, Ed Helms.

    “We are very gratified by the Court’s decision which will allow the highly anticipated film, The Hangover: Part II to be released on schedule this week around the world,” Warners said in a statement.

    Mike Tyson appears in the movie as well, and had a large part in the original “Hangover.”

    S. Victor Whitmill inked Tyson’s face over a decade ago. But he did not ink Ed Helms, nor did he give permission to Warner Bros. to use his tattoo design on Helms.

    And while U.S. District Court Judge Catherine D. Perry ruled the studio could release the film, she also said Whitmill had a good chance of ultimately winning his copyright infringement case.

    Whitmill’s attorney Geoffrey Gerber sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter:

    “While we are disappointed that the motion was denied, we are quite pleased by Judge Perry’s findings that Mr. Whitmill proved a ’strong likelihood of success’on the merits and that most of Warner Bros. defenses were ‘just silly.’ Judge Perry recognized copyright law protects tattoos and that Warner Bros. had no permission to use Mr. Whitmill’s artwork in the movie. We look forward to further vindicating our client’s rights at trial in the near future, including a permanent injunction preventing further distribution of the movie. In her decision, the judge expressed concern about the potential harm that could be suffered by all of the theater operators if the movie could not open this weekend. We certainly understand. These are innocent third parties put in this position by Warner Bros.”

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