NCAA Football 12: EA faces likeness lawsuit
NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball publisher Electronic Arts could face $1 billion in damages if it loses its two year class action compensation lawsuit with former college athletes’ regarding the use of their likeness. The class action, that has been brought by former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and former UCLA basketball player Ed Bannon, was recently OK-ed by a California District Court judge who recently denied an EA motion to dismiss the class action.
The battle is a very complicated one as it needs to be assessed whether or not the players have incurred financial or or any other damage as a result of being included in the game. EA argue that they have First Amendment right to use the players likenesses but certain high ranking players disagree. As this is a class action lawsuit every player, that has been included in any of EA’s college sports titles without explicit permission, is represented and could receive compensation.
The one billion dollar figure was calculated by Darren Rovell of USA Today. Who estimated that based on the current law, each player would receive $1000 per likeness per platform. The trouble of course would be in arguing whether or not every single players likeness was actually used. It may be OK for the big name players like Keller and Bannon to require compensation but what about a running back in a minor team that only a few people have ever heard of? A $1 billion dollar loss could spell disaster for upcoming NCAA titles. NCAA Football 12 was released on July 12, 2011.