Home
NCAA Football 11 News Post


The New York times reported earlier this week on the Sam Keller/EA Sports lawsuit:

Quote:
"When Sam Keller, a former quarterback at Arizona State, sued the video game publisher Electronic Arts last year, he was seeking compensation for himself and other college athletes whose names were not used but whose images he contended were being illegally used by the company.

But to the media conglomerates, athletes, actors, First Amendment advocates and others who have recently weighed in on the case, Keller’s lawsuit is about much more than video games. The outcome of a recent appeal filed by Electronic Arts, their lawyers say, could rewrite the rules that dictate how much ownership public figures have over their images — and the extent to which outside parties, including media and entertainment companies — can profit from them."
Basically, this is becoming a big lawsuit and it's not really about video games anymore -- at least to these additional parties with interests in the suit.


Quote:
'“It’s one of the most important clashes in all of First Amendment law, and one of the more unsettled areas,” said David L. Hudson Jr., a scholar with the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. “I think it’s an area that is crying out for Supreme Court review in the right case.” '
We haven't even seen the case move forward too far and people are already talking Supreme Court? Well this would mean we won't see a resolution for quite some time, which is either good or bad news, depending on how you look at it.


Quote:
"'The implications here are enormous,' said Rob Carey, Keller’s lawyer. 'I don’t think we anticipated such a drastic, far-reaching defense, and then when EA Sports did that, that’s when everybody started to cover their own turf.'


Since Electronic Arts filed its opening brief in the appeal in August, more than three dozen parties have signed their names to briefs supporting each side. Those who support Electronic Arts claim that free speech rights permit the use of the athletes’ images. But Keller and his supporters argue that the video games in question are not protected by the First Amendment because the company was using the likenesses of college athletes for purely commercial gain."
Basically for those who don't quite understand yet -- there are a lot of people very interested in the outcome of this lawsuit. It's becoming quite a big deal.


Quote:
"But representatives of athletes, actors and other famous figures say they deserve to be compensated for use of personas they have worked hard to develop, and say Electronic Arts goes too far. If Electronic Arts were to prevail, “the real-life consequence would be that anybody making anything other than a television commercial or a print ad — what is very clearly commercial speech — would essentially have the right to use people’s names and likenesses in those projects without any consultation,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the general counsel of the Screen Actors Guild. "

The case hasn't progressed too far yet, but with everyone lining up on each side of the case -- we are going to see a very interesting set of arguments from both sides of the fence. I know gamers are interested in Electronic Arts winning this case, but there is indeed a much bigger picture at work here.

The argument from the Keller Camp that sports video games aren't the same as other games, and that prior court rulings that video games are protected speech, is an interesting one. If Keller wins, the NCAA and EA will have to fork over some major money and then EA will have to either start licensing real players for NCAA or EA will have to create completely generic rosters in every sense of the word.

However, should EA win, from what Crabtree-Ireland said above -- you would no longer have to license likenesses in sports games. So while you would still have to license teams, players would be fair game to be used without a license fee of any kind.

It would be good for sports gamers if EA won in that sense, but it would also be exceptionally bad if you are someone who might be used in a creative production of any kind. This is indeed a huge case and it should be the most interesting and groundreaking case for video games perhaps ever.

As always, we'll be on top of it!

Game: NCAA Football 11Reader Score: 8/10 - Vote Now
Platform: iPhone / PS2 / PS3 / Xbox 360Votes for game: 82 - View All
NCAA Football 11 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 idesign2 @ 11/19/10 02:11 PM
I don't ever play NCAA Football, so I don't really have much interest in this outcome. Having said that, I don't see how EA can legally get away with using real college players in their games. Sure, they use fake numbers and names, but we all know which number represents which player.
 
# 2 supermanemblem @ 11/19/10 02:12 PM
leave it to a spoiled scrub to ruin it for everyone. ea does not use the likeness of any college players. heck half the time, they have the wrong jersey number. ea's lawyers took a very dumb stance. they should have put the burden on the ncaa. afterall, jerseys, posters and other products are sold using the player's likeness and they don't get a nickel. i'm guessing that a jury is more likely to rule against the for profit than the ncaa. i bet keller had no problem customizing the game with his name Nd such when he was playing and since his career fizzled he figures someone has to pay. what a biggitty beya!
 
# 3 jjsmitty34 @ 11/19/10 02:43 PM
Come on Sam just end it already... God I really wished nebraska wouldn't have got him from ASU, he's just plain bad all around...
 
# 4 Dr Death @ 11/19/10 02:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjsmitty34
Come on Sam just end it already... God I really wished nebraska wouldn't have got him from ASU, he's just plain bad all around...
What's really funny is I named a guy in the game 'Sam Keller.' Only when he dropped back to pass, the announcer said, "Cry Baby drops back to pass..."
 
# 5 Shinyhubcaps @ 11/19/10 02:53 PM
EA follows the law in the respect that the players in the game are generic. They look generic, they have generic animations, and they have names like "QB #19." The Collegiate Licensing Company sells the logos of participating schools. How are they supposed to populate the rosters? Maybe make black players white and vise versa? This whole lawsuit is ridiculous for a company (that I hate, by the way) trying to operate their business within pre-existing guides. Not sure how the 1st Amendment really comes into play though.
 
# 6 PocketScout @ 11/19/10 03:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shinyhubcaps
EA follows the law in the respect that the players in the game are generic. They look generic, they have generic animations, and they have names like "QB #19." The Collegiate Licensing Company sells the logos of participating schools. How are they supposed to populate the rosters? Maybe make black players white and vise versa? This whole lawsuit is ridiculous for a company (that I hate, by the way) trying to operate their business within pre-existing guides. Not sure how the 1st Amendment really comes into play though.
The funny thing is that was exactly what I was thinking. NCAA 2012 all white players in real life will be black and vise versa. They use generic faces for them for all the players, its not madden or an nba game where they are facial mapping players.

The heart of the argument is what constitutes a likeness and where it can be used. Personally I hope EA wins, Jim Brown lost his case against EA and I hope Keller gets the same result.
 
# 7 kjcheezhead @ 11/19/10 03:43 PM
"However, should EA win, from what Crabtree-Ireland said above -- you would no longer have to license likenesses in sports games. So while you would still have to license teams, players would be fair game to be used without a license fee of any kind."

This sounds like a lose, lose for EA. Even if they win the right to use college likenesses, they set a precedent to allow for 2k to make a game using NFL players likenesses with generic city names.
 
# 8 PocketScout @ 11/19/10 03:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjcheezhead
"However, should EA win, from what Crabtree-Ireland said above -- you would no longer have to license likenesses in sports games. So while you would still have to license teams, players would be fair game to be used without a license fee of any kind."

This sounds like a lose, lose for EA. Even if they win the right to use college likenesses, they set a precedent to allow for 2k to make a game using NFL players likenesses with generic city names.

They can do this right now, as per the Jim Brown ruling. The problem is without the NFL License (Teams, Logos), the game will not sale in mass. The players license is from the NFLPA not the NFL license.
 
# 9 kjcheezhead @ 11/19/10 04:10 PM
I am under the impressions that likenesses as well as names are protected right now. So just having a qb in a blue jersey who plays for an Indianapolis team, wears #18 and is 6' 5", 230 would be grounds for a lawsuit. If EA wins this case, 2k could use this likeness without paying a dime in license fees to anyone and no threat of a suit. That makes a big difference.
 
# 10 PocketScout @ 11/19/10 04:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjcheezhead
I am under the impressions that likenesses as well as names are protected right now. So just having a qb in a blue jersey who plays for an Indianapolis team, wears #18 and is 6' 5", 230 would be grounds for a lawsuit. If EA wins this case, 2k could use this likeness without paying a dime in license fees to anyone and no threat of a suit. That makes a big difference.

With that you described as likeness, EA used Jim Browns "likeness" without paying him anything (though they said they did not use his likeness) and the courts ruled that it was legal to do so under the First Amendment. So with that there is nothing stopping 2k from doing the same thing, except the fact that without the NFL license the game will not move enough units (as 2k8 showed).

http://www.iptrademarkattorney.com/2...dismissed.html
 
# 11 kjcheezhead @ 11/19/10 04:26 PM
You may be right... although 2k8 didn't prove much of anything as far as what might sell. The game did not feature player likenesses like I described for Peyton Manning and a lot of money was spent securing rights to actual players.
 
# 12 The GIGGAS @ 11/19/10 04:33 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketScout
With that you described as likeness, EA used Jim Browns "likeness" without paying him anything (though they said they did not use his likeness) and the courts ruled that it was legal to do so under the First Amendment. So with that there is nothing stopping 2k from doing the same thing, except the fact that without the NFL license the game will not move enough units (as 2k8 showed).

http://www.iptrademarkattorney.com/2...dismissed.html
What about Madden Football 64? That game only had the NFLPA license (not the NFL), and according to vgchartz (which can be dubious at times), sold 0.85 million copies, compared to the next year's version of Madden ('99), which sold 0.89m. These numbers are for the N64 version:

http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/game/...n-football-64/
http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/game/1229/madden-nfl-99/
 
# 13 PocketScout @ 11/19/10 05:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by The GIGGAS
What about Madden Football 64? That game only had the NFLPA license (not the NFL), and according to vgchartz (which can be dubious at times), sold 0.85 million copies, compared to the next year's version of Madden ('99), which sold 0.89m. These numbers are for the N64 version:

http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/game/...n-football-64/
http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/game/1229/madden-nfl-99/
That is kinda hovering around the middle area, you dont have full nfl teams (logos) , but you have all the players, so people still see it as the nfl even when its not. I think the 2k8 game is a better example of not mimicking the nfl license and not having great sales. Also the Madden name doesnt hurt. If Madden 2012 did the same thing (NFLPA but no NFL) it would still move close to a 1m units because of the name alone.

I think a company could make a generic pro football (ala early FBPRO games) that did not have NFL or NFLPA and still be close enough that people would buy it, but not in mass. If there is an option that has the NFL or NFLPA it will sale a lot better than an unlicensed version. But this is just my worthless opinion on the matter
 
# 14 scottyo60 @ 11/19/10 06:17 PM
As a law student... what does this have to do with freedom of speech? as said in the article the first amendment right... this whole thing is stupid
 
# 15 PocketScout @ 11/19/10 07:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyo60
As a law student... what does this have to do with freedom of speech? as said in the article the first amendment right... this whole thing is stupid
The First Amendment is not just speech, it covers expression, art, words, ideas. Courts have ruled multiple times that video games fall under this same protection.
 
# 16 colkilla @ 11/19/10 09:57 PM
i was "represented" in the '96 version (the one with wuerffel on the cover). if he wins, i want my piece of the pie! in all seriousness, dude is a tool, i was hyped as hell to be "in the game" and would never fight for royalties from it...
 
# 17 scottyo60 @ 11/20/10 12:14 AM
I mean this stretches the first amendment though. You're dealing with multiple aspects... If it goes to the supreme court it's a total toss up. on the video game side... I edited rosters for NCAA 11 and being a hardcore marshall fan, minimal likeness was created... if it was to the likenss it surely would have been a lot easier to do. edited syracuses roster to their one on the website and wow. this jackass has probably never picked up a copy of ncaa or he would know just how hard it is to create real rosters.
 
# 18 videlsports @ 11/20/10 05:07 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermanemblem
leave it to a spoiled scrub to ruin it for everyone. ea does not use the likeness of any college players. heck half the time, they have the wrong jersey number. ea's lawyers took a very dumb stance. they should have put the burden on the ncaa. afterall, jerseys, posters and other products are sold using the player's likeness and they don't get a nickel. i'm guessing that a jury is more likely to rule against the for profit than the ncaa. i bet keller had no problem customizing the game with his name Nd such when he was playing and since his career fizzled he figures someone has to pay. what a biggitty beya!
This is horrible for both. If Sam would have made it.. this would not be an issue
 
# 19 notimetobleed77 @ 11/20/10 09:55 PM
I always wondered why the ncaa and/or ea didn't have the players sign a waiver to use there likeness to prevent problems like this. Most players would have no issues being in the game. The ones that didn't want to, who cares, does it really matter? We can edit the rosters anyways.
 
# 20 Jr. @ 11/20/10 11:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by notimetobleed77
I always wondered why the ncaa and/or ea didn't have the players sign a waiver to use there likeness to prevent problems like this. Most players would have no issues being in the game. The ones that didn't want to, who cares, does it really matter? We can edit the rosters anyways.
I don't know if this is still true, but 3 years ago when I was playing college sports, we had to sign a waiver that said that our school and the NCAA could use our likeness for promotional purposes. It didn't say anything about using them for profit though, which is what the NCAA does by selling the exclusive license to EA.

My biggest issue with this case, and why I support Sam Keller's idea to sue, is that the NCAA makes billions of dollars off of the athletes at their institutions, but if a player wants to take a free meal they are ineligible. I find it insane that the NCAA and universities are allowed to make money off of their athletes, but (outside of a free education for some athletes, not all) the athletes themselves can't make a dime.
 

« Previous123Next »

Post A Comment
Only OS members can post comments
Please login or register to post a comment.