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NFL players sue EA over Madden likenesses

A former football player is suing Electronic Arts on behalf of about 6,000 retired National Football League players who claim their likenesses were included in Madden NFL 09, but they weren't paid for it.
Written by Don Reisinger, Contributor on

A former football player is suing Electronic Arts on behalf of about 6,000 retired National Football League players who claim their likenesses were included in Madden NFL 09, but they weren't paid for it.

The complaint (PDF), filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, claims that EA engaged in "the unlawful use of retired NFL players' likenesses in video games created, marketed, and sold by EA." The plaintiffs said EA did not obtain "prior authorization and permission" and that by not doing so, was "unjustly enriched."

The crux of the lawsuit revolves around the more than 140 "historic teams" included in the game. The players on those in-game teams have no names and do not share the same jersey numbers as their real-life counterparts. That said, the plaintiffs claim that characteristics, "including the players' height, weight, and skill level, were consistently identical or so close to the living player's characteristics that the consumers of the game could readily discern what player was being represented."

For more on this story read NFL players target Madden in EA lawsuit on CNET News.

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