Around 6,000 retired NFL players have filed a class action lawsuit against EA over its use of their likenesses in the historic teams that featured in Madden NFL 09.
According to a report on IGN, the lawsuit claims that publisher knowingly and intentionally” used the content in such a way that it could deliberately avoid have to pay any additional licensing fees. It did this by using their exact personal stats but by changing their names and squad numbers.
EA has earned substantial revenue by creating, marketing and selling video games featuring the likenesses of retired NFL players,” it reads. Rather than obtain authorisation to use the likenesses of retired NFL players and properly compensate this group of individuals, EA without authorisation used their likenesses that consumers could play and manipulate when they purchased versions of EA's Madden NFL video games.
EA's commercial exploitation of retired NFL players is both blatant and prolific. EA was fully aware that its use of the retired players' likenesses was without authorisation and that a licence was needed.
Defendant's conduct has violated and continues to violate Plaintiff's right of publicity and the right of publicity of all similarly situated class members.”
A PDF of the lawsuit can be downloaded here.