Following up on the latest litigation involving the Madden NFL franchise, GameSpot finds that a former North Carolina footballer, a licensing group for boxers, and one of the Cleveland Browns' infamous "Dawg Pound" inhabitants want a piece of Electronic Arts.
All three have filed suits over the unauthorized use of likenesses in EA Sports titles. Byron Bishop ended his injury-filled career with the Tar Heels last year, but has sued the NCAA, which licensed EA Sports NCAA 10 game, because a player with the same number, state of birth, appearance and position also appeared on the roster in that series. Like the former, and more noteworthy, player Sam Keller, Bishop seeks a class-action status in his suit.
The sports management group Fighters Inc. claims EA put boxers it represents into Fight Night Round 4, flouting exclusive licensing agreements the group says it had with the fighters. Further, Fighters Inc says EA Sports continued to pursue boxers under its brand, signing them for downlowdable content packs. Fighters Inc. isn't messing around, they want $25 million in actual damages, plus punitive on top of that.
But the best is John Big Dawg Thompson, one of the inaugural members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's "Hall of Fans" class. Thompson, who changed his middle-name to Big Dawg, is the bug-eyed, hard-hatted, dawg-mask wearing denizen of Cleveland's notorious east end zone stands. He contends that a "Big Dawg" fan character in Madden NFL 09, similar except for jersey uniform number (92 instead of Thompson's 98), is an unauthorized use of his image. He wants 25 grand.
The good news is, by no longer making a baseball game, EA Sports can't be sued by every douche who sits behind home plate talking on his cell phone and waving at the camera.
EA Tackled by More Sports License Suits [GameSpot]