Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's been two years since former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon sued EA Sports, the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Company for their continued use of the likenesses of college athletes in video games without compensating the players. O'Bannon's lawsuit was combined with similar lawsuits from Oscar Robertson and former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller. Which is a concern to the many college football fans who not only enjoy watching college football on Saturdays in the fall, but also enjoy playing EA Sports' NCAA Football on their Playstations and XBoxes.
Well, EA Sports got some good news this week, as a court in northern California dismissed the complaint against the video game giant.
Judge Claudia Wilken for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the complaint against EA Sports, ruling, "This purported conspiracy involves Defendants' concerted action to require all current student-athletes to sign forms each year that purport to require each of them to relinquish all rights in perpetuity for use of their images, likenesses and/or names and to deny compensation 'through restrictions in the NCAA Bylaws.' The Consolidated Amended Complaint, however, does not contain any allegations to suggest that EA agreed to participate in this conspiracy."
Which makes sense, seeing as how it's not EA Sports going from player to player forcing them to sign a waiver that gives up the rights to their likeness. That would be the NCAA and CLC doing that, and that also explains why Judge Wilken decided not to dismiss the same complaint against them. Which means that while EA Sports is in the clear, this case is far from over.
And, yes, that means the possibility that EA Sports' college football games will feature generic players not based on the real players at some point down the line still exists. It may not be likely, but there's a chance. Which, as somebody who enjoys playing the games myself can tell you, would suck. Thankfully there are certain gamers out there who go through the trouble of naming rosters for other players to download for their games, and hopefully those same heroes would create the real rosters for the rest of us to download.
Hat tip: Dr. Saturday