SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court has given the green light to a lawsuit by former NFL players against video game maker Electronic Arts over the use of their avatars in the company’s Madden NFL series.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday sided with a lower court that rejected Electronic Art’s motion to dismiss the case. The 9th Circuit said EA was not likely to prevail in its argument that use of the former players’ likenesses was incidental and therefore protected by the First Amendment.
The players, including former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo, said the Madden NFL game had players with their exact characteristics, but EA had not obtained their permission to use the figures.
A call to Redwood City, California-based Electronic Arts was not immediately returned.