EA Still on the Hook for NFL Likeness Misuse; Wins on Sanctions Motion in the Meantime

As we have previously reported, Electronic Arts Inc. continues to be under fire for trying to evade responsibility for its alleged unauthorized use of thousands of NFL players’ likenesses in its video games, most notably in Madden NFL. On March 29, 2018, the retired players filed a motion in opposition to EA’s third attempt at summary judgment. According to the retired players’ motion, they represent a proposed class of over 7,500 other retired NFL players who claim to have been similarly aggrieved by EA’s…
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Retired NFL Player’s Suit Against Madden Games Maker Continues

On December 11, 2017, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg refused Electronic Arts Inc.’s (EA) request to be dismissed from a retired NFL player’s putative class action. The suit alleged that EA improperly used the retired players’ likenesses in Madden video games. The putative class action was filed in 2010 and claimed EA violated their publicity rights by including their likenesses in Madden games without obtaining permission from 2001 to 2009. Although the retired players’ names do not appear in the game, the players claim their…
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Football Legend Jim Brown Rushes His Way to $600K Settlement in Publicity Rights Suit

NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown has accepted a $600,000 settlement offer from video game giant Electronic Arts (EA) to end his lawsuit alleging EA used his likeness in its NFL Madden video games after he expressly denied permission. As announced by Brown’s attorneys, the former Cleveland Browns running back accepted the cash award in exchange for dismissing the suit with prejudice in what they call a big victory for athletes against big business. Jim Brown is known as one of the greatest football players
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Objector’s Attorneys Continue to Get Pummeled with Motions for Sanctions

On Wednesday October 28, 2015, a group of former-collegiate athletes filed a motion for sanctions against the attorneys representing objecting class members in their own lawsuit. This comes as the latest in a long and well-publicized class action suit brought by the former athletes against the NCAA and Electronic Arts, Inc., for violations relating to the use of their likeness and images in video games. Filed with the Ninth Circuit, this motion for sanctions comes in response to what the plaintiffs believe is nothing more…
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Judge Approves $60 Million Settlement in NCAA Video Game Case

On Thursday, Judge Claudia Wilken approved the proposed settlement agreement between the Sam Keller plaintiffs and the defendants, NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC)—$20 million with the NCAA and $40 million with EA Sports and CLC.  In an attempt to avoid similar video game related liability in the O’Bannon case, the NCAA argued the $20 million settlement should cover any misappropriation of likeness claims arising from NCAA-branded video games, but Judge Wilken disagreed.  Her decision to handle the two similar cases separately would…
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NCAA Players Agree to a $40 million Settlement with EA Sports

Leaving the NCAA as a sole defendant, NCAA football and basketball players reached a settlement with EA Sports in the case involving alleged misappropriation of the athletes’ likeness.  The $40 million settlement after attorney fees would provide approximately $4,000 to as many as 100,000 former and current NCAA players whose images EA Sports used in its college basketball and football video games since 2003.  The agreement awaits an approval by a federal judge presiding over the case.  For each registered eligible player, the settlement amount…
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NCAA Litigation May Lead to Compensation of Student Athletes

It is well known that student athletes do not receive any of the revenue that their schools generate from ticket sales, television revenues, jersey sales, or similar profit-generating business transactions arising out of college athletics. However, former University of California at Los Angeles basketball player, Ed O’Bannon has commenced an action in the Northern District of California against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Collegiate Licensing Company seeking to recover damages from the licensing of his likeness to entities such as EA Sports
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