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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One of These Things is Not Like The Other: Electronic Arts and Retired NFL Players Argue Over Class Certification in Likeness Suit

On September 22, 2016, Electronic Arts and retired NFL players who claim that “Madden NFL” uses their likeness without permission argued over class certification in a California federal court. At the hearing, the parties debated whether publicity is a property right and the feasibility of ascertaining thousands of players’ avatars. The players’ attorney, Brian Douglas Henri, stated that suit was properly brought under California state law, reasoning that EA’s headquarters are in the Bay Area. Judge Richard Seeborg questioned why state law should apply when…
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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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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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Electronic Arts Cannot Escape ex-NFL Players’ Lawsuit

On Tuesday, January 6, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Electronic Arts’ motion seeking dismissal of a lawsuit brought by ex-NFL players who claim EA used their likenesses without permission in ‘Madden NFL’ videogames. The lawsuit, initiated in April of 2012, is very similar to the lawsuit against Electronic Arts brought by former NCAA players for EA’s unlicensed use of their likenesses in sports videogames.  This time, it is ex-NFL players bringing the lawsuit for the use of their likenesses in the ‘Madden…
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