Class Action Suit Brought Against EA over Retired Players in Madden

August 3, 2010 -

In litigation very similar to one brought previously by NFL Hall of Fame member Jim Brown, another ex-professional football player has filed a lawsuit against Electronic Arts, alleging that the game maker used the likenesses of retired NFL players illegally in its Madden NFL series of videogames.

The new suit, filed by Michael E. Davis (pictured in his playing days), aka Tony Davis, was filed in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California on July 29, and is of the class action variety, seeking damages on behalf of the “approximately 6,000 retired NFL players whose likenesses were included in the ‘historic teams’ in all versions and editions of Madden” sold between July 29, 2008 and the present.

Davis, who now resides in Colorado, played six seasons in the NFL as a running back and kick returner, spending three seasons apiece with the Cincinnati Bengals (1976-1978) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1979-1981). The lawsuit claims EA’s use of the likenesses of retired players in its games violates Davis’ statutory and common law rights of publicity under California law, in addition to being unlawful and/or wrongful, causing EA to “be unjustly enriched.”

The lawsuit also called EA’s “commercial exploitation” of retired NFL players both “blatant and prolific.”

Davis notes that in 1979, when he played with the Bucs in his fourth year, he was 26 years old, 5’11” in height, weighed 215 pounds and wore number 27. In Madden 09, Davis claims that a halfback for the 1979 Tampa Bay team appeared, with the same age, height, weight and pro experience—the only difference being the virtual player’s number (#37). Davis claims that despite the “scrambled” jersey numbers of retired players in the games, consumers “will have no difficulty identifying who the ‘historic’ players are.”

Excluded from the class action suit are ex-NFL participants whose “virtual players’ height is not within two inches of the player’s roster height, and the virtual player’s weight is not within 10% of the player’s roster weight.”

The suit seeks actual damages, statutory damages and punitive damages for every member of the class, in addition to the “disgorgement of all profits attributable to the use of Class Members’ likenesses earned by EA.”

Grab a copy of the complaint here (PDF).

Bonus: watch Davis score the only receiving touchdown of his NFL career here (WMV).


Comments

Re: Class Action Suit Brought Against EA over Retired ...

He should have filed this lawsuit BEFORE the last one was awarded in EA's favor.  Now, EA has legal precedent.

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Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2015/2/27/8120573/house-of-cards-season-3-monument-valley-cameo given that its a india game, and so he most likely did not have the money to pay. I wounder how that came about.02/27/2015 - 12:24pm
PHX Corphttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/arts/television/leonard-nimoy-spock-of-star-trek-dies-at-83.html Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 8302/27/2015 - 12:22pm
Andrew EisenBullying resulting from criticizing fiction is not the critic's fault. Fiction is not always unrealistic. Neither begets sexual objectification.02/27/2015 - 11:56am
Andrew EisenSubjective? Sure, but that doesn't matter because no one's trying to regulate sexual objectification. Plenty of room to criticize sexual objectification in multiple forms of media (like Sarkeesian already does). 02/27/2015 - 11:56am
ConsterDon't 'beauty rags' already get plenty of criticism?02/27/2015 - 9:02am
ZippyDSMleeEh still rather subjective… the haters would be better off going after teen and beauty rags and magazines than fiction, fiction follows reality and going after fiction tends to turn into a bullying fest’s… plus its fiction its unrealistic to start with….02/27/2015 - 1:10am
MechaTama31That's a pretty difficult anatomy to break.02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
MechaTama31"the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy" <-- I'm sorry, but we are talking here about the woman who can roll up into a little ball and live to tell the tale, yes? ;)02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
Andrew EisenAs far as examples that could be culled from female game characters though, that one's pretty mild.02/26/2015 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenNot as much the heels or the suit in and of themselves but certainly the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy to show off her lady bits.02/26/2015 - 9:10pm
E. Zachary KnightWell, Samus's heels are certainly impracticable, but I wouldn't really call her Zero suit objectified. I don't really feel that the new Lara Croft is objectified either, but that is my subjective opinion.02/26/2015 - 9:08pm
Andrew EisenTomb Raider: No but we haven't seen much of anything yet. Samus: Yes.02/26/2015 - 9:07pm
ZippyDSMleeWould you call the new tomb raider objectified? WOuld Samus Aran from the new Smash bros be objectified?02/26/2015 - 9:02pm
WonderkarpI'm hoping they put the rest of the comic book ghostbusters in there. Ortiz and Rookie(From GB the game)02/26/2015 - 8:38pm
Wonderkarpghostbusters board game is doing great. getting close too a 3rd extra playable Character. Ron Alexander.02/26/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenSmurfette is not subjective. If there's more than one female character, it's not Smurfette. Anyway, as with everything on the list, Smurfette is, in and of itself, not necessarily a bad thing.02/26/2015 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenI think there's 5 women (out of 15, I think) but other than one being a bit more "hippy" than the others, they pretty much all have the same body type. Especially when compaired to the huge variety of male body types.02/26/2015 - 8:31pm
Wonderkarpso I dont see Smurfette as a bad thing. Unless like all your female characters are Smurfette. remember the Smurfs also had Sassette02/26/2015 - 8:29pm
E. Zachary KnightOne good example of the larger issues is one Anita used in the presentation, Blizzard's Overwatch game. There are a dozen men in the game with a dozen body types. But there are only 4 women with 2 body types, but 3 of them have the same one.02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
Wonderkarpthe smurfette thing is subjective to how many female characters you have. Take Sonic for example. You have Amy, who is obvious smurfette, but there's several other female characters now without that. Including the original animated seriescomics with Sally02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
 

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