NEWS - Monday, December 20, 2010

NCAA Likeness Lawsuit Against EA Moving Forward

A judge denied EA’s motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed by current and former college athletes against EA and the NCAA, potentially putting the publisher on the legal defensive (via Gamasutra).
The suit was brought by former quarterback Sam Keller, who filed the suit alleging unauthorized and uncompensated use of the likenesses of college athletes. EA’s moved to dismiss the case under the First Amendment.

"EA tried to hide under the First Amendment but the court recognized similarities between real athletes and the game were just too great to be ignored," said attorney for the plaintiffs Rob Carey.

According to the law firm, EA and the NCAA must now prove that they did not use the likenesses of college athletes in any of their NCAA games, including NCAA Football, March Madness and NCAA Basketball.

This isn’t the first time that EA has encountered legal trouble over likenesses. A group of retired pro football players sued the NFL Players Association for $26 million in 2009 for licensing their likenesses, though the case was settled.

EA Sports currently has no NCAA Basketball games in development; but the lawsuit could have an impact on its better-known NCAA Football games. No word on when this case will go to court.



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