EA Facing Another Lawsuit From NCAA Football Player
Maybe it's just a matter of course. When you're as gigantic as EA, you should expect to spend a lot of time in court for any number of reasons.
Not long ago, it came to light that EA may face lawsuits from retired NFL players who believe their "likenesses were unlawfully incorporated" into the best-selling Madden football franchise. Now, the NCAA wants a piece of one of the world's largest game publishers. As SF Weekly reports, a former college quarterback is making the same accusation. The lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit is Samuel Keller, a quarterback who played for Arizona State and Nebraska; here's a snippet from the article:
"The suit [claims] in its first sentence that it 'arises out of the blatant and unlawful use of [NCAA] student likenesses in videogames produced by [EA]... to increase sales and profits.' This, the complaint continues, is abetted with a wink-and-nod assist from the NCAA, which 'intentionally circumvents the prohibitions on utilizing student athletes' names in commercial ventures by allowing gamers to upload entire rosters, which include players' names and other information, directly into the game in a matter of seconds...'
This, the suit alleges, is a symbiotic relationship between the NCAA and EA that leaves the student athletes -- who make this whole venture possible -- empty-handed."
Well, EA doesn't have a ton of high-priced lawyers for nothing. But you had to figure that when video game sports simulators began to become more and more authentic, the licensing issue would continue to become more and more of a problem. Maybe it's unavoidable.
5/7/2009 Ben Dutka