July 31 A divided U.S. federal appeals court has
ruled against Electronic Arts Inc in a lawsuit by former
collegiate athletes who accuse the company of using their images
in video games without permission.
By a 2-1 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said EA
had no First Amendment defense against former football and
basketball players, including onetime Arizona State University
quarterback Samuel Keller, over the use of their images in its
NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball video games.
The majority said EA "literally recreates Keller in the very
setting in which he has achieved renown," and therefore violated
his right of publicity.
In a separate decision, the 9th Circuit upheld the dismissal
of Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown's lawsuit against EA over
the use of his likeness in its Madden NFL video game.
It said Brown's likeness was "artistically relevant" to that
game, and that there was no showing that EA explicitly misled
consumers about his involvement with the game.