Former NFL players sue over Madden computer football games Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Former National Football League players may have been flattered at first when Electronic Arts Inc. added their likenesses to rosters of historic teams in the “Madden NFL” video game series. But not so much any more.
Retired NFL player (and former Nebraska standout) Michael E. “Tony” Davis is leading a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the former players, accusing Redwood City-based EA of profiting from players’ careers without their permission, and without paying for those rights.
Specifically, the lawsuit says:
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. EA was fully aware that its use of the retired players likenesses was without authorization and that a license was needed.
In fact, the lawsuit alleges, EA sought to evade licensing fees by purposely avoiding using players’ real names — but used their real career statistics. There’s been no response from EA.