6,000 Former NFL Players Sue EA
Around 6,000 former NFL players have launched a class action suit against Electronic Arts over the use of players’ likenesses in Madden NFL 09‘s historic teams.
The suit (via IGN) alleges that EA "knowingly and intentionally" used players’ likenesses in a way to avoid having to pay license fees. While the players’ names and original uniform numbers were removed in Madden NFL 09, players can include them using an edit mode.
“EA’s commercial exploitation of retired NFL players is both blatant and prolific, as the 2009 edition of the Madden NFL video game contained over 140 historic teams containing likenesses of thousands of retired NFL players," reads the suit. “EA was fully aware that its use of the retired players’ likenesses was without authorisation and that a license fee was needed.
"The only significant detail that EA changes from the real-life retired NFL players is their jersey number. Despite EA’s scrambling of the retired NFL players’ numbers, the games are designed so that consumers of the Madden NFL video game franchise will have no difficulty identifying who the historic players are."
A similar case brought against EA by NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown was dismissed last year, although the retired athlete is currently appealing the decision.