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But chiefs at the Warner Brothers film studio insist Whitmill's copyright infringement lawsuit and request for an injunction to halt the movie's impending release should be thrown out.

The company's legal brief reads, "The very 'copyrightability' of tattoos is a novel issue. There is no legal precedent for the Plaintiff's radical claim that he is entitled, under the Copyright Act, to control the use of a tattoo that he created on the face of another human being."

Warner Brothers claim the ban should not be enforced, citing the fair use of parody, the tattoo's ubiquitous nature, and the fact that Tyson himself appears in the film.

An official decision is expected later this week (ends29May11) ahead of the planned release of The Hangover: Part II on 26 May (11).