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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Let’s Try That Again: Ex-NCAA Athletes Appeal Publicity Rights Suit to Sixth Circuit

On Monday, July 13, a group of ten former student athletes filed a notice of appeal with the Sixth Circuit regarding their publicity rights’ claims.  Ultimately, this effort fits into the much larger battle of whether student athletes should receive compensation for their participation in sporting events. The former college athletes are disputing U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp’s dismissal of their claims on grounds that they failed to sufficiently back their arguments that they deserve compensation under Tennessee law.  The plaintiffs are seeking to prove…
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8th Circuit Affirms NFL Player Publicity Settlement

On Thursday May 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit affirmed a 2013 settlement between NFL retirees and the NFL. A group of former players brought suit against the NFL seeking to be compensated for the use of their images. The $50 million settlement received final approval of a Minnesota federal judge in November 2013, despite the objection of 19 players. Some of those players appealed and echoed their contentions that the settlement was unfair to the Eighth Circuit. Their main argument…
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Judge Dismisses Publicity Rights Lawsuit by Former NFL Players

A federal judge in Minnesota nixed a lawsuit brought by three former NFL players Fred Dryer (LA Rams), Elvin Bethea (Houston Oilers), and Ed White (Minnesota Vikings) who claimed that the NFL violated their publicity rights in using video clips of them playing football.  The players had opted out of a $50 million settlement offered in a class action suit over publicity rights of athletes. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson found the NFL Films’ productions that featured game footage of Ram, Oilers, and Vikings were…
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Former Dictator Learns from Lindsay Lohan about Publicity Rights

Manuel Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama, must have learned about Lindsay Lohan’s latest lawsuit from his prison cell in Panama.  Like Lohan who alleged misappropriation of her names, images, and likeness by a video game maker, Noriega filed a suit against Activision over 2012 popular first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops II which, according to Noriega, features his image and likeness without his permission. The complaint claimed the character in the game is repeatedly referred to by name and also as Noriega’s…
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$50M Settlement Approved in NFL Retirees’ Publicity Rights Suit

A Minnesota federal judge approved a $50 million settlement in a case over the publicity rights of more than 25,000 NFL retirees. Calling it a “historic settlement,” the judge stated it is “very creative and it’s very exciting to see this opportunity being provided to retired players for the first time.” Despite the objection of 19 players, on November 1, 2013, the judge granted final approval of the settlement. The judge noted that “only one-tenth of one percent of the class objected and less…
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