The lawyers for EA Sports did everything they could to convince a judge that their NCAA sports franchise games were works of art and therefore should be protected by the 1st amendment. But in the end a California judge ruled in favor of the players allowing them to continue with their class action lawsuit against the company for unfairly using their likenesses without paying them.
EA argued that the avatars used in their basketball and football games did not specifically represent individual players, but the judge disagreed.
”Every real football player on each team included in the game has a corresponding avatar in the game with the player’s actual jersey number and virtually identical height, weight, build, skin tone, hair color, and home state,” Judge Jay Bybee wrote for the divided three-judge panel.
This ruling can open the flood gates. A few weeks ago NCAA announced that it will not renew its contract with the game maker, and one has to believe it was because they saw this very thing coming. This was a huge ruling in favor of the suit against EA by former college quarterback Sam Keller which has been combined as a class action suit with the Ed O’Bannon suit against the NCAA. Please believe these two major corporations are ready to go to war as these lawsuit stand the threaten millions in profits for their corporations. EA has already filed an appeal.