EA could lose $1bn over athlete lawsuit

A US judge has denied EA’s dismissal of a court case over player likenesses which could result in a heavy pay-out.

Former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon took legal action against EA and sports association NCAA two years ago, reports USA Today, for allegedly using their likenesses in-game without the players’ consent.

The case could – at the very worst – apparently cost EA up to $1bn in damages. That’s around a quarter of its annual revenue.

The law reportedly says each of the 10,000+ players in the associated games could be awarded $1,000 each, bringing the possible cost to EA up to $334.5m. But if the violation was found to be knowing, wilful or intentional,” it could treble the total pay-out.

EA says it has a First Amendment right to use the players’ likenesses.

We could lose billions more if a giant meteor hits the earth,” said EA spokesman Jeff Brown. We’re not planning for either outcome.”

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