A class action lawsuit that was filed against EA in 2010 by the NFL player-base has finally been approved.
The suit states that EA “knowingly and intentionally” used the likeness of over 6,000 retired NFL players in its Madden NFL 09’s historic teams in such a way so as to avoid having to pay licensing fees.
This involved EA using the same height, weight, stats, and positions of each player but with new names and uniform numbers.
In 2012 a Judge ruled that the case would go to court but EA made an appeal on the basis that the players’ likenesses was “incidental.” The company then also raised the First Amendment act of the US.
That appeal has now been rejected, allowing the lawsuit to finally proceed. In a session this week, the court stated that EA had done little to thwart the players’ likenesses.
“We hold EA’s use of the former players’ likenesses is not incidental because it is central to EA’s main commercial purpose: to create a realistic virtual simulation of football games involving current and former NFL teams,” said Circuit Judge Raymond Fisher.
The retired players fully plan on suing EA for damages, the profits made with the game, and for covering the attorney’s fees.