NCAA: EA Sports Settles Lawsuits Regarding Athlete Likenesses

Popular video game developer EA sports has settled lawsuits filed against it by several athletes for unauthorized use of players' likenesses in their games.

Sep 26 2013, 10:33pm CDT | by

NCAA: EA Sports Settles Lawsuits Regarding Athlete Likenesses
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Popular video game developer EA Sports has finally settled the lawsuits filed against it by current and former athletes for unauthorized use of their likenesses in their products. 

In addition to EA Sports, the Collegiate Licensing Agency (CLA) has also settled its own lawsuits, per the Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo. The NCAA wasn't part of the settlement agreement with the athletes, which included former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon

O'Bannon and the other athletes involved in the lawsuits are asking for a share in the revenues of EA Sports, CLA and the NCAA. Russo says the settlement is in the billion-dollar range and includes "massive television rights deals." 

The settlement, whose terms were not disclosed to the public, was forwarded to a U.S. District Court in Northern California for approval. 

Donald Remy, chief legal officer for the NCAA, made a comment about the matter. He said,"We learned of this notional settlement today. We have asked for, but have not yet received, the terms so we cannot comment further."  

Remy also spoke with USA Today Sports and said they will do whatever is necessary on the legal side to put the issue to rest.

"We're prepared to take this all the way to the Superme Court if we have to. We are not prepared to compromise on the case."  

According to Steve Eder of the New York Times, if the settlement is approved by a U.S. District Court judge, the NCAA "will probably be alone in defending itself." 

Michael Hausfeld, a lawyer for the athletes, did not expound further on the settlement terms but did drop hints that the former and current student-athletes might now have the support of EA Sports and CLA, per Eder.

Hausfeld also countered Remy's statements regarding the lawsuit against the NCAA.

"The NCAA now stands alone in its hypocrisy. When you hire a new firm to deal with a trial and a firm to deal with an appeal, it doesn't say a lot about your confidence in your position."

In a related development, EA Sports also announced it will not release a college football game in 2014. This trend will go on "for at least one year," according to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today Sports.  

EA Sports announced  it is "evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise." The previous releases of the game sold an average of two million units annually.



Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.


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