6000 Former NFL Players Suing EA Sports

It's time for another lawsuit against EA Sports' Madden series, and this time it's the football juggernaut going up against around 6000 former NFL players.

Former RB Tony Davis (pictured) is acting as plaintiff for the players, whose class action suit accuses EA of "knowingly and intentionally" capitalising on retired player's likenesses without paying a cent in licensing fees, nor seeking their permission.

The Madden series has long included "classic" rosters, which while not including the actual faces or names of famous retired players, would replicate their position, capabilities and number. So Steve Young, for example, wouldn't be in the game as Steve Young, but there'd be a white guy as a 49ers QB with the #8 who was quite handy throwing a football.

EA Sports obviously feels that's enough to get by within the letter of the law, but these players allege otherwise, and are after damages.

The suit hinges on two points. Firstly, "The only significant detail that EA changes from the real-life retired NFL players is their jersey number. Despite EA's 'scrambling' of the retired NFL players' numbers, the games are designed so that consumers of the Madden NFL video game franchise will have no difficulty identifying who the 'historic' players are."

That one might have a bit of merit. But the second point? The suit is also upset that gamers are able to edit these classic rosters, replacing for example "#8" with "Steve Young". That one might have a bit of trouble.

Retired NFL Vets Sue EA Over Madden [IGN]