Are EA’s Visual Representations in Madden Generic Enough to Avoid Liability in Publicity Claim?

In 2010 Michael Davis and other former NFL players filed suit in California, alleging that video game maker Electronic Arts (EA) violated their rights of publicity when it used famous teams from the past in Madden games from 2001 until 2009. In their complaint, the retired players argued that while EA obtained permission from current players to use their names and likeness, the company failed to do so with the retired players. While the former players did not allege that their names actually appeared in…
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Game Over: SCOTUS Refuses to Hear Appeal on Sports Video Game First Amendment Issue

On Monday, March 21, 2016, the Supreme Court refused to hear Electronic Arts Inc.’s appeal from a Ninth Circuit ruling that the First Amendment did not protect it from a class action suit brought by retired NFL players. The underlying lawsuit, originally filed in 2010, arises out of the inclusion of “historic teams” in EA’s popular video game “Madden NFL.” Specifically, the suit alleged that EA’s use of “historic teams,” past teams that were particularly popular or famous, impermissibly violated players’ state-law rights of publicity.…
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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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Student Athletes Appeal Settlement in Class Action Lawsuit Against NCAA, Electronic Arts

A new development emerged Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in the case against Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) as two plaintiffs are appealing the approval of a $60 million settlement. The case—a class action lawsuit brought by student athletes—involves the use of students’ names, images, and likeness in EA’s NCAA video game series. The class action has two underlying lawsuits: Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc. et al and O’Bannon, Jr. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association et al. A…
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Judge Nixes Jury Verdict in EA Sports ‘Madden’ Infringement Case

On January 22, 2014, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer overturned a multi-million dollar jury award against EA sports in a copyright infringement case.  The underlying action was originally brought against the video game giant by Robin Antonick, a programmer who was initially given credit and royalties for creating the first edition of ‘Madden Football’ in 1988.  Antonick alleged that subsequent versions of the game were created using his own source code, violating copyright infringement laws and entitling him to compensation.  A federal jury agreed with…
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California Jury Allows Madden Developer to Play On in Case Against EA

It took less than a week to return a verdict in favor of former Electronics Arts Inc. (EA) videogame developer Robin Antonick. On Friday, June 21, 2013, a California jury ruled that Antonick was not too late to bring a breach of contract claim against EA for royalties that he alleges are owed to him from a 1986 agreement with the video gaming company. Antonick is the original designer and developer of the Madden NFL Football games. A 1986 agreement required EA to pay him…
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Trial to Determine if Madden Developer Can Beat the Clock with Big Play for Damages

On Monday June 17, 2013, opening statements were made to determine if Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) lied to the original programmer of the Madden NFL videogame. Robin Antonick, the game’s original programmer, claims the company continued to use the game’s code that he developed after contractually agreeing not to do so.  Monday, a California federal judge decided the case would go to trial. Antonick worked for EA from 1984 to 1991.  During his tenure, he developed the first rendition of the game for Apple II,…
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