Right of Publicity Video Games

News & Analysis as of

Stacy Allen Speaks: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Unpopular Celebrities And The Right Of Publicity

In retrospect, the victories won by former college football stars in their right of publicity lawsuits against Electronic Arts and its hugely popular NCAA Football videogame franchise are hardly surprising. How could anyone...more

Davis: Electronic Arts Gets a New Set of Downs and Still Can’t Score

Just over a month ago I wrote about the Davis v. Electronic Arts matter that was pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.  Specifically, I opined that the matter was ripe for Supreme Court review in light of the...more

USA: Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection....more

Advertising Law - January 2015 #2

Safeway Must Pay Customers for Higher Online Prices - A California federal court judge has ruled in a breach of contract suit that Safeway is liable to customers who paid more for items online than in the store. ...more

Davis v. Electronic Arts: Another Right of Publicity Loss for Media Companies

On January 6, 2015, Electronic Arts, Inc. (“EA”), maker of Madden NFL video games, lost its appeal to dismiss claims by approximately 6,000 retired professional football players in Michael Davis, et. al v. Electronic Arts,...more

Electronic Arts and its Disrespect for the Game

On September 11, 2014, the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on the appeal in Davis v. Electronic Arts (Case No. 12-15737), a class action lawsuit brought by three former NFL Players against Electronic Arts (“EA”), the...more

Litigation Alert: California Superior Court Finds Use of Likeness of Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega in Video Game...

Manuel Noriega v. Activision Blizzard, Inc., No. BC 551747 (Cal Super. Ct. filed October 27, 2014) - In recent years, federal and state courts have wrestled with how to assess right of publicity claims in the video...more

Cyberlaw: Of Athletes And Video Games

Can a video game company use an athlete’s likeness in a game without his or her permission? The answer is maybe. The Ninth Circuit recently rejected Jim Brown’s Lanham Act Section 43 claim against Electronic Arts, Inc....more

Leggo My Likeness Part V: Grand Theft Right of Publicity?

This year, several important video game lawsuits helped clarify the parameters for using a celebrity’s likeness in video games. Generally speaking, courts have found that, unless you get permission, you can’t put a celebrity...more

District Court Declines to Certify Damages Subclass in NCAA Case

On November 8, 2013, the Northern District of California certified a class of current and former student athletes seeking injunctive relief under the Sherman Act but declined to certify a damages subclass in the case In re...more

When Does the Right of Publicity Trump a Video Game Maker’s First Amendment Rights?

On September 24, 2013, Electronic Arts, Inc. (“EA”) reached a $40 million dollar settlement of lawsuits over the use of college athletes’ likenesses in EA’s popular college football video game series NCAA Football. EA also...more

Balancing Freedom Of Expression And The Right Of Publicity: Implications For The Future Of Interactive Entertainment

Freedom of expression bowed to the right of publicity on July 31, 2013, when a divided panel at the Ninth Circuit ruled that college athletes could proceed in litigation against Electronic Arts (“EA”) for making sports-based...more

October 2013: Sports Litigation Update - Athletes Prevail in Right of Publicity Suits Against Video Game Designer

Two federal appellate courts held this summer that the First Amendment does not insulate video game maker Electronic Arts (“EA”) from right of publicity suits brought by football players whose likenesses it used as part of...more

Ninth Circuit Fumbles The Ball In Videogame Likeness Cases

Creating a new rule that gives videogames much more limited protection than other expressive works, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that realistically depicting college athletes in videogames showing them doing what they became...more

Evolving Case Law on the Fair Use of Famous Trademarks in Video Games

A recent spate of cases has generally upheld, on First Amendment grounds, a developer’s right to include unlicensed trademarks in video games. However, until the body of case law becomes so prevalent that trademark owners...more

Advertising Law -- Aug 15, 2013

FTC Updates COPPA Guidance - As promised, the Federal Trade Commission has provided additional updates to its Frequently Asked Questions guidance regarding the new Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule which took...more

Litigation Alert: Ninth Circuit Assesses Use of Player Likenesses in Video Games

On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, the Ninth Circuit issued two opinions assessing the parameters of use of individual player likenesses in video games in two highly watched cases...more

Jim Brown's Right Of Publicity Claim Revived By Keller Victory On Appeal

A Ninth Circuit panel decision issued on July 31, 2013, has revived NFL legend Jim Brown's state law right of publicity claims against video game maker Electronic Arts, Inc. ("EA"). Back in March 2009, Brown filed an action...more

Football & Free Speech: Third Circuit Vidgame Decision Has Broader Implications for Reality-Based Works

42, 127 Hours, Act of Valor, Argo, Dolphin Tale, Fair Game, Green Zone, I Love You Philip Morris, Moneyball, People Like Us, Sanctum, Secretariat, Soul Surfer, The Bling Ring, The Fighter, The Runaways, The Whistleblower,...more

IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update for Motion Picture Studios and Television Networks -- May 31, 2013

Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc., U.S.C.A., Third Circuit, May 21, 2013 - Third Circuit reverses district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing claim of plaintiff, former college football player, for violating his...more

Jackson Walker's VIA Media Postcard - February 2013

In This Issue: - Stacy Allen Speaks: Right of Publicity: Advantage Athletes - Recent court decisions regarding unlicensed likenesses of celebrities in programs, products or video games represent a disturbing...more

Advertising Law -- Jan 18, 2013

In This Issue: POM Loses Again to the FTC – Will Other Advertisers?; Instant Instagram Controversy; LASIK Providers Need Corrective Advertising; FTC Reports on Food Industry Marketing to Kids; Google, Viacom Accused of...more

Rights of Publicity: Contradictions in the Courts

The legal controversies over athletes' rights-of-publicity rage on. Two pending appellate decisions offer some hope that a rational conclusion might be in sight. The head of Manatt's Sports Law Practice Group, Ron Katz, had...more

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