A lawsuit filed by former Rutgers University quarterback Ryan Hart has been thrown out of the Trenton, New Jersey U.S. District Court on the grounds that Electronic Arts was exercising free expression under the First Amendment. Hart had alleged in his lawsuit (Hart v. Electronic Arts Inc et al, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 09-0599) that Electronic Arts has used his image in its NCAA Football video game without his permission.
U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson said on Friday that the publisher's right to free expression under the First Amendment outweighed former quarterback's right to control the use of his name and likeness.
Elizabeth McNamara, the lawyer that represented Electronic Arts in the case, said EA is pleased with the decision, claiming that it "validates Electronic Arts' rights to create and publish its expressive works."
Hart's lawyer, Keith McKenna, made no public comment on the decision. We also do not know if Hart plans to take the lawsuit to a higher court or if he has given up.
while EA has prevailed in this particular case, more are pending related to the NCAA license. NCAA players' biggest complaint is that the NCAA strips them of their rights to be compensated while playing college sports, while they ink lucrative contracts with EA and are richly rewarded – even while trading on the likenesses of players across the country.
Source: Reuters Canada