A California federal judge denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit, by Plaintiff Kevin Michael Brophy Jr., alleging that a man’s distinctive back tattoo, a tiger battling a snake, was used without his permission in a sexual picture on an album cover by rapper Cardi B.
The album cover used an edited picture of a man with the distinctive tattoo who appears to be performing oral sex on Cardi B while she drinks a beer. Plaintiff alleges misappropriation of likeness or identity, violation of the right to publicity under California law, and false light invasion of privacy.
Lawyers for Cardi B and affiliated companies had claimed that use of the tattoo is a transformative fair use. To support this contention, they allege the person who designed the cover said he received $50 for his work.