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Football, Video Games & The Law 0

Football, Video Games & The Law

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Blog

Football video games have existed for over 25 years and have continued to grow in sophistication.  Player avatars have evolved from generic pixels to fully developed representations.  Electronic Arts (EA), the video games publisher with an exclusive license for NFL games, now records player information like height and weight to create as realistic an experience as possible.  Along with these technological advances have come concerns about the use of player likenesses in both professional and amateur football games.  The 9th Circuit recently decided a case regarding player likenesses in both the Madden NFL and NCAA video games.  The court ruled differently in each case and a quick look at the cases sheds light on how these claims will be handled in the future. Brown vs. Electronic Arts featured Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown disputing the use of his likeness in EA’s Madden NFL series.  While Jim Brown stopped playing football in 1965, EA included him as part of the 1965 Cleveland Browns team in some versions of the Madden series.  His avatar did not include his name but was physically similar to him and simulated his style of play.  In later games EA changed the number of Brown’s avatar to make it a little more dissimilar to him....

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