Tag Archives: Sue

NCAA Player Likeness Lawsuit vs EA Sports *UPDATE*

The player likeness lawsuit against the NCAA, CLC, and Electronic Arts is the culmination of two high profile filings that were combined as led by Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon (and O’Bannon now heads it up). It alleges improper use of player likeness through various forms of merchandise and media including video games in which the parties in question conspired to avoid paying players for their rights. Some interesting details and claims regarding the case at hand were revealed when EA was reentered as a defendant after initially being dismissed.

EA has won a previous case regarding player likeness with the courts ruling video games are artistic works rather than commercial speech and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court in 2011 established forms of media, producing expressive works of art, are not subject to judgments based on incorporating someone’s name or likeness.

Recent uncovered emails have shown that NCAA representatives were well aware that players in games were based off real-life players. At one point the NCAA and EA had nearly reached an agreement to have actual player names included in the products. The EA Locker / Roster Share feature was a fallback option. With momentum clearly on the plantiffs’ side NCAA reps have begun to publicly express concern over the future of collegiate sports. Continue reading NCAA Player Likeness Lawsuit vs EA Sports *UPDATE*

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Ex-Celtics Star Bill Russell Sues NCAA, Electronic Arts Over Image Use

William “Bill” Russell, former star center for the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics, accused the National Collegiate Athletic Association of using his likeness from his college playing days without paying him or seeking his consent.

The complaint is the latest to claim the NCAA violates federal antitrust laws by keeping former student basketball and football athletes from receiving compensation for the commercial use of their images and likenesses. The association has denied wrongdoing in those cases.

Electronic Arts Inc., the second-largest U.S. video-game maker, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California. Russell accuses it of using his image in a “Tournament of Legends” feature on an NCAA basketball video game.

Russell, who led the University of San Francisco to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, said in the complaint that the association sells $150 videos of the team’s championship games. At least 54 clips featuring him are available through the website of the NCAA’s for-profit business partner and photos of him through an NCAA online store, according to the complaint.

Russell, 77, is seeking a court order blocking further sale of the videos and video games, plus disgorgement of profits from them and unspecified damages.

Post-College Endorsements

The NCAA owns and licenses the copyright on the NCAA games cited in the complaint, said Donald Remy, the association’s general counsel. The NCAA doesn’t restrict athletes from profiting from their college accomplishments through post- college commercial endorsements and other ventures, he said in an e-mail today.

“Mr. Russell, like the thousands of other student-athletes who played the game, can capitalize on his likeness, reputation, athletic and academic successes as a student-athlete after college,” the e-mail said. Continue reading Ex-Celtics Star Bill Russell Sues NCAA, Electronic Arts Over Image Use