10:16 AM - May 23, 2013 by MMChrisS
The 'other' college athlete lawsuit against EA Sports has suddenly received new life as a Federal Appeals Court struck down a decision that said EA Sports had First Amendment Rights to college athlete likenesses via artistic expression.
In a 2-1 decision, the suit now has new life and will likely continue to move up the courts.
From the Kotaku Article: "The digital Ryan Hart does what the actual Ryan Hart did while at Rutgers," wrote Judge Joseph Greenaway, for the 2-1 majority. "He plays college football, in digital recreations of college football stadiums, filled with all the trappings of a college football game ... [t]he various digitized sights and sounds in the video game do not alter or transform the appelant's identity in a significant way."
Hart's complaint is similar to the Ed O'Bannon and Sam Keller case which is currently at the Federal Level and which is expected to reach the Supreme Court eventually. Keller and O'Bannon's case will get a class action certification ruling in the coming weeks. If the class action suit is certified, all players past and present who have had likenesses in college sports video games could stand to receive some compensation and the fundamental structures of the NCAA could be forced to change. College sports video games themselves would be financial jeopardy at that point as well.
Needless to say, both EA and the NCAA have legal departments working a lot of hours these days.