Video Game Maker EA Loses Lawsuit to Former NCAA Athletes

Athletes' challenge to EA's use of their images is upheld.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013  |  Updated 12:16 PM PDT
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Quarterback Sam Keller of the Arizona State Sun Devils passes the ball during the game against the USC Trojans on October 1, 2005, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Stephen Dunn /Getty Images)

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Electronic Arts, the Redwood City-based maker of some of the best-selling sports video games ever, suffered a loss in court this week to former college athletes who say EA used their likenesses without permission, according to reports.

EA said that using likenesses of ex-college athletes in its games was free expression under the Constitution's First Amendment. Judges at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, according to Reuters.

EA will appeal the ruling again, the news agency reported.

Former athletes like ex-Arizona State University quarterback Samuel Keller, were "literally recreat[ed]" by EA "in the setting in which he has achieved renown," the court ruled.

A player on the 2005 edition of NCAA Football had all the same characteristics as Keller had in real life, the news agency reported.

Another former college QB, Rutgers University's Ryan Hart, has a similar challenge in the courts.

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