Jim Brown ‘Laid a Framework’ for Future Athletes in $600K Settlement Against Madden NFL Game Company

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Wikipedia
Wikipedia

NFL legend Jim Brown has won his case against Electronic Arts for their alleged illegal use of his likeness in its Madden NFL games. The video game company has agreed to pay Brown $600,000 in a settlement. A law firm representing the retired athlete made the announcement Tuesday.

Brown’s lawyers stated EA offered to settle the case soon after it filed papers to appeal the court’s decision.

In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County in 2013, Brown stated he did not allow EA to license his likeness. However, the company still used it. The 80-year-old Georgia native alleged EA illegally profited from his image through the use of a physically and statistically similar player on their “All Browns Team.” The act violated his right of publicity.

“I took a stand for all athletes and laid a framework for future plaintiffs with my great legal team,” Brown said in a statement on the judgement. “Hopefully, this is a step forward in getting companies like Electronic Arts to recognize the value that athletes have in selling their products.”

Game Stop reported Brown initially brought a case against EA in 2008, but the suit was tossed the following year. The judge cited the company’s First Amendment right to have characters resembling celebrities.

The former Cleveland Browns running back also sued EA in federal court but a judge dropped the case, according to the Associated Press.

Robert Carey, one of Brown’s attorneys, said in a statement he is happy with the judgement, adding it “marks an important victory” in cases of publicity rights.

“Big business should think twice before it turns players’ hard-won identities and achievements into merchandise without permission or compensation,” Carey said.

The judgement follows the court decision made in March allowing a group of retired NFL players to continue pursuing their suit against EA for its use of their likeness in the Madden NFL series, Reuters reported.

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