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NCAA Video Games

Date Filed: May 5, 2009
Court: U.S. District Court, District of Northern California
Type of Case: Civil and Human Rights
Case Number: 09-CV-1967
Status: Active
Company Name: National Collegiate Athletic Association and Electronic Arts, Inc.
Stock Symbol: NASDAQ: EA

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA and Electronic Arts, Inc. claiming the companies illegally use college football and basketball players' names and likenesses in video games without permission or consent from the player.

The suit claims using a player's name, picture or likeness violates contracts and licensing agreements in NCAA bylaws. Despite these prohibitions, the NCAA allegedly condones the use of players in EA games to increase popularity and ultimately increase revenues and profits, the suit claims.

Players claim the NCAA and EA conspired to permit the use of NCAA players for their own monetary gain and without compensation to players. In contrast, Electronic Arts paid the NFL Players Union nearly $35 million each year for the use of players' names and likenesses in NFL games.

The lawsuit filed by Sam Keller, a former starting quarterback for ASU and Univ. of Nebraska football teams, represents all NCAA football and basketball players listed on the official opening-day roster of a school whose team was included in any game produced by Electronic Arts, and whose assigned jersey number appears on a virtual player in the software.

Sept. 26, 2013 - A settlement has been reached between the Hagens Berman and other attorneys representing the plaintiffs and Electronic Arts. The terms of the settlement are confidential, pending disclosure to the court.

Jan. 15, 2010 - Today, Judge Claudia Wilken appointed Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro as co-lead class counsel for the lawsuit against Electronic Arts and NCAA which claims the companies used college players' likeness in NCAA-branded video games. Judge Claudia Wilken ordered Hagans Berman and its co-lead counsel Hausfeld to direct the litigation among co-counsel. The Court also consolidated plaintiffs represented in the lawsuit against the two companies.

Feb. 8, 2010 - Recent developments surfaced this week in a class-action lawsuit against NCAA and Electronic Arts (EA). U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken denied the motion made by Electronic Arts and NCAA to dismiss the case. The class-action lawsuit will move forward and the two companies will need to prove they did not use college players' likeness in its NCAA-branded gaming franchise.

EA unsuccessfully argued protection under the first amendment and the freedom of creative expression over the highly successful NCAA-branded video games. However, Judge Wilken rejected the gaming company's argument, siding that allegations made by plaintiff Samuel Keller, former quarterback for Arizona State University, have merit.

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